Print yourself a life

Over the last few years 3D printers have slowly became more and more common in our everyday lives. Although they were invented in 1984, people have just started using them recently at home and they still aren’t standard.

We can predict that very soon 3D printers will become a more common part of our lives. They will be used to print clothes, furniture and electronic devices. Imagine a future in which McDonald’s and Ikea look like copy shops, or robot-doctors open the human body, remove the heart and print an exact replica into the empty space.

3D printers and robots will soon be merged to one machine that is able to replace humans in many fields. So future jobs will be about designing, implementing and maintaining these machines. Automatization is our future and although doctors and some other professions will never be fully replaced, robots will do most of their work.

Whether that is a good or a bad thing is an interesting question. However, one can’t deny that most accidents happen because of human error. When a vehicle crashes or an operation goes wrong, it usually isn’t the fault of a machine.

The only problem when using robots instead of humans in the future is who to blame if something really goes wrong. The company who made the robot? The person who installed the robot? New laws will be needed to handle these new conflicts.

But one thing will probably never change, humans’ endless search for beauty. Bioprinters are intended for injuries and disfigurements, but who’s to say that it has to be a medical reason? You might want a new nose or ear or cheekbone. So it also might revolutionize cosmetic surgery.

And consider – having a printer that is able to print organic materials on the one hand or having a huge meat industry that destroys countless hectares of land and produces a huge amount of greenhouse gases on the other, which would you chose?

Everyone can have their own opinion about bioprinters, robots and our future with them, but as with every new invention, there are advantages as well as disadvantages and we just have to find the best way to live with them.

Iris Woelwitsch

Student at Technikum Wien University

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