The Second Amendment and Future of 3D Printing
When I was young I would eagerly wait for the mailman to bring the latest issue of popular science and secretly skim through it like it was a dirty magazine. My father had subscriptions to many of these types of magazines. The rule, however, was that us kids were not allowed to touch them before he had a chance to read them himself. I got really good about not bending any pages. Always remembered to rub my hands on my pants to not leave any oil marks. The real trick was to make sure the subscription cards did not fall out, keep those inside and it wouldn’t raise any suspicion. The future and technology have always been a place where I found wonder and optimism in the world.
I remember my dad reading for the first time about atomic precision manufacturing. I had read that article a few days prior and wanted so badly to tell him about it, but saying anything would blow my cover. I tried to wrap my head around the concept. I remember imagining atoms like LEGO blocks with scientists building whatever their curiosity would allow. When I overheard my dad talking about this microwave-size box that will assemble matter with the push of a button, I knew exactly what he was referring to. I jumped in the conversation with an optimistic passion, dramatically illustrating my LEGO analogy. My dad stopped me and put some perspective to it by saying, “We have a ways to go. The scientists are trying to assemble those LEGOs with boxing gloves on currently. When the gloves come off, the world will rapidly change.” Thankful to not be questioned about how I knew of ATP, I sat quiet for the rest of the conversation and envisioned a world where our imaginations rendered into the world around us in real time.
3 Months ago I became a father. With that, the gravity of reality seems harder to navigate. Even in the worst case dystopian nightmare futures, I had the ability to re-frame the zombie apocalypse into a fun stage of this simulation. I knew I would always do what I could to try and push the collective into a better future. With my daughter, however, it’s now a responsibility. I am filled with a new level of urgency and disdain for complacency. How do we overcome the momentum of ignorance and manipulation of our cultural narrative? This protective instinct has turned on with fatherhood and has solidified my responsibility to change the status quo. Waking up to find that my daughter lives in a world where people are murdered for drawing a cartoon is not acceptable. I do not have all the answers; I have the responsibility to use ‘Intelligent Optimism’ as a filter for humanity’s ‘adjacent possible’ – our ‘shadow future’. I feel we all do.
Finding one has the ability to control a nightmare empowers one to change the dream. Our brains are wired to process negative information first and foremost. Media and a small number of people with agendas exploit, amplify, and aggravate this trait we all share. Actively processing information with intelligent optimism will ensure our species’ future. Continuing to let this default system run will perpetuate this broken system. Optimism is not a naive perspective; it’s actively finding light in the darkness and helping others to see it.
To me, there is no optimist or pessimist. There is a human that uses different neurological filters at different times. Actively processing information optimistically does not mean I do not rage when I hear of drone strikes or oil spills. I let myself dive deep into the most negative aspects of our past and current reality. Like a free diver holding his breath, I hold onto my vision of the future and plunge. Close your eyes and try to imagine a future. If it’s not a utopia, then you are not trying hard enough. Take a deep breath and try again. Our future, my daughter’s future, depends on it.