The beginning of chair piracy
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
And with that, The Pirate Bay created a new category on one of the world’s largest piracy outlets – a category for physical objects. 3D Printers are now under $1000. And while the resolution, size and materials still leave a lot to be desired, it’s worth casting your mind back to your amazement at first seeing a domestic printer spit-out a colour printout that sort of resembled a photograph. Because that was likely less than 20 years ago. A few quick points on this:
- This is the future. I love it when the future actually arrives.
- Any (likely) arguments or discussions around IP are completely pointless. The piracy of objects is well an truly established across the world already. It’s not just fake handbags either, the Chinese have pirated a Rolls Royce. That Eames chair your sitting on is more than likely pirated.
- This will eventually change how we look at products – the free availability of almost any design we want will ultimately lead to people thinking about their needs rather than their wants. Instead just buying what we are told too from the limited range available, we will consider what we need and how that need could be fulfilled through the infinite possibility of design customisation.
- This won’t be a huge challenge for brands – firstly because multi-material 3D printing is still at least 10 years off, so you’ll be waiting a while to print out those Nikes. Secondly because even in a world of downloadable (and piratable) objects, the same fundamentals remain – brands are a heuristic, a shortcut to something we know and are comfortable with. If brands are providing good service, customer-centric customisation, and simplicity, the world of 3D printing is far more of an opportunity than a threat.
In the meantime, if you really can’t wait, your 3D printed shoes are available here.
- January 2012