GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Could 3D Printing Change the World? Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing


A new technology is emerging that could change the world. 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a revolutionary technology that could profoundly alter the geopolitical, economic, social, demographic, environmental, and security landscape of the international system. AM builds products layer-by-layer—additively—rather than subtracting material from a larger piece of material—that is, “subtractive” manufacturing. This seemingly small distinction—adding rather than subtracting—means everything. This potential revolution in manufacturing may take a decade or more to mature and become ubiquitous, but it could profoundly change our world in the next ten to twenty years.