Philip Shapira, professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote the book review “Designing Reality: Three Brothers Anticipate the Rise of Digital Fabrication” for the November 21 Science magazine blog. The School of Public Policy is part of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Nonetheless, all the brothers anticipate the expansion of digital fabrication. Indeed, Neil posits that the number of fab labs will double every 18 months, an exponential surge inspired by the prescient prediction from Intel’s Gordon Moore in 1965 that transistors on integrated circuits would double every 2 years. Alan and Joel counter with a limiting factor, observing that institutional change rates are, at best, linear.
The Gershenfelds agree that any technological road map for digital fabrication needs to be integrated with a societal road map. They argue for early consideration of impacts and for anticipatory processes of redesign for digital fabrication. Recommendations to scientists, philanthropists, investors, government officials, and community leaders call for improved tools, integrated deployment, inclusiveness, and risk minimization.