Makers: the new industrial revolution

By Farid Gueham.
An article from Trop Libre


"3D printers, laser cutters, open source software and hardware are now available to everyone, and making things at home and in the office will quickly become as common as touching up photos. Will the democratization of production tools trigger a new industrial revolution, driven by the Makers? ".


Chris Anderson, editor of the magazine Wired since 2001, we offer a pragmatic analysis, rich in many examples, ranging from Makerbot printers, to open source computer cards on Arduino or Techlab self-manufacturing shops.

A new industrial revolution is underway: it feeds on Makers who use digital tools to make prototypes, open source for the pooling of their ideas, and the professionalization of their initiatives in companies, which disrupt our economic model . "The Makers are indeed in the process to industrialize the hack and the DIY spirit (Do It Yourself), in a movement that is both artisanal and innovative, high-tech and low cost. And today, more than ever, every inventor is now also a potential entrepreneur. "


The new industrial revolution


In the last two decades of innovation, we have been looking for new ways to create, invent and work together on the web. But for Chris Anderson, it's in the next 10 years that these lessons will be applied to the real world.


For now, the digital revolution is limited to screens, because we live in houses, drive cars, work in offices, as much material goods that are the products of our industrial economy, transformed in many ways except one: "Unlike the web, it (the industrial economy), was not open to all. Given the skills, equipment and money needed to produce in large quantities, the manufacturing industry is largely owned by large companies and well-trained specialists ", says Chris Anderson.


But here, it is about to change: the manufacture of things is no longer the prerogative of manufacturers, drawings circulate online in the form of files. The profound nature of this transformation will reside less in the way of doing things than in the identity of those who will do them. "Today, anyone who owns an invention or a good model can upload a file to a department that will manufacture their product, in small or large quantities, or make it themselves with smaller, more powerful digital manufacturing tools like 3D printers, specifies the author.

The History of the future


"What is just an" industrial revolution "historians have been debating since the end of the eighteenth century, that is to say since the first time they saw a staggering growth rates. The great upheavals of industrialization have rarely met with a benevolent welcome. In Britain in the early eighteenth century, innovation had a bad reputation and like the author William Blake, there was still talk of "Dark Satanic Plants, Poisonous Workers and Earth".


It was without counting the improvement of the quality of life, the access to the care and the comfort of the city dwellings, real discoveries for the rural exiles of the time. Expression "Second industrial revolution" appeared for the first time in the letter of a French diplomat, Louis-Guillaume Otto, who described a phenomenon then underway in France. But it is with the rise of the chemical industry, the oil refining, the internal combustion engine, that we can speak of a new phase of the industrial revolution. And it is in the era of information and communication that will be born the third industrial revolution, multiplier forces for the supply of services but also for the automation of production.


The networking of computers and finally the advent of the Internet will truly transform our culture. For Chris Anderson, the intangible economy is "Where information, services and intellectual property are exchanged rather than physical goods. The immaterial economy includes everything that does not hurt you by falling on your feet.

However, the economy of bit represents only a tiny fraction of the manufacturing economy. This revolution is finally that of the circuits, because instead of selling to factories that control access to the market, the new craft industries way maker sell directly to consumers around the world, on Etsy or eBay, while creating a new business model "They invent their own models and can demand more from demanding consumers who deliberately avoid mass-produced goods."


We are all creators now


Today, 3D printers are where the Macintosh and Jobs LaserWriter were 25 years ago; we can not predict its future use, but we can anticipate that it will become better and cheaper than the first laser printers or previous basic electronic technologies. "Soon these first tools will be as ubiquitous and as easy to use as inkjet printers. And if you have to judge from the past, they will change the world even faster than the microprocessor did a generation ago. "


Reinventing the biggest of all the factories


"Ultimately, the Maker movement will be judged not only on its ability to transform the product categories and fortunes of business creators but also on how it will move the entire economy forward."recalls Chris Anderson.


In the interval of a few generations, the fundamental means of production are transformed: steam, electricity, standardization, assembly line, Lean manufacturing and today, robotics. But the most important changes and the most profound changes always come from tools. " However, there is no tool more powerful than the computer itself: it is no longer content to drive the modern factory: it becomes the model itself.


The real revolution lies not only in the rise of advanced technology, but also in its democratization. And if the movement of makers announced the advent of a new movement? A future in which Western countries would regain their lost industrial power, but instead of a few giants of the industry, they would see a multitude of small businesses, investing as many niches.


A model evoked by Canadian researcher and journalist Cory Doctorow "The era of companies called GE, General Mills or General Motors is over. The opportunities are like krill: a billion small business opportunities that smart and creative people can discover and exploit. "


For further :


- " Makers: The new industrial revolution ", lenouveleconomiste.fr


- " Will 3D printing reinvent the industry? " cegid.com


- " A future without humans: The work to the test of automatons "franceculture.fr


- " Will 3D printing be the 4th industrial revolution? " journaldunet.com


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