Personal factories: the future of manufacturing?

The New York Times Magazine takes on a topic we’ve mentioned before:  how technological change may be revolutionizing manufacturing in ways we are just beginning to understand.  The NYT article follows the doings of 30-something techies in Detroit and New York.  They are using 3-D printing to create new products and some, through careful focus on niche opportunities, are doing quite well.  Since it is the NYT Magazine, the whole thing seems like another trendy story of, by, and for over-affluent Millenials.  Until you come to this sentence in the article:

Personal factories can perhaps be compared to the earliest personal computers — versions of their giant counterparts that are drastically cheaper but also slower and more clumsy.

The first personal computers seemed like silly toys, capable of supporting crude wordprocessing and spreadsheet programs, but devoid of any real graphics capability and not really good for a whole lot of useful activity.  Then look what happened.  So if this technology continues to improve and become more powerful, the way we organize work may undergo the most significant changes since the industrial revolution ruined our work lives several centuries ago.

Stay tuned.

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