Best Argument: Revolution
Audience Favored: Revolution (58%)
3D printing is here to stay
The world of 3D printing is exciting and it is progressing at an extremely fast pace. It's easy to get caught up in the hype, and it's important to remember that a lot of the 3D printers on the market right now will not last, as they are not viable enough to compete with big companies. There are a lot of conversations that will occur regarding ethical concerns, specifically about bioprinting and gun printing, and IP concerns will continue throughout the next few years. However, with companies like GE and Boeing betting their money on additive manufacturing already, and HP about to enter the market this year, it's apparent that 3D printing is here to stay in the manufacturing industry, the healthcare industry, and in the consumer and small enterprise spaces. It will not only supplement the processes already in place, but also replace many traditional ones with new technology.
Valuable? Absolutely. Revolutionary? Sadly not.
3D printing is valuable, not only to businesses which can benefit from the reduced costs of manufacturing products and creating prototypes in the design stage, but for consumers who may enjoy lower price points as a result. The technology has applications in healthcare, construction and manufacturing, but is unlikely to be suitable as a household product beyond small, novelty printers which may be fun to print out gifts or designs, but no more than that.
While valuable, 3D printing lacks the "revolutionary" label as it will remain in the manufacturing space for a long time to come, and unlike mobile devices -- which I would label "revolutionary" due to market spread and often low cost -- 3D printers require heavy investment for the kit, materials and maintenance -- making it unsuitable for the average home. The technology is within a 'hype' stage, but eventually will find its niche within manufacturing and supply chains, novelty products and in the creation of prosthetics in healthcare.
More demand than anyone anticipated
Few topics in the tech world are generating as much real buzz as 3D printing in 2014. While the media has been obsessed with wearable computing this year, readers on tech sites are showing far more interest in 3D printing. As one software engineer told me the other day, "This is the next big thing I want."