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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

When Blobjects Rule The Earth: Bruce Sterling on Manufacturing and Design

Bruce Sterling is a pretty good science fiction writer and a great spinner of speculative non-fiction, aka futurism. I've cited him before (can you tell I like his work?)

I work for Cyon Research, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in software for engineering, in all its various forms (mechanical, structural, architectural, civil, etc.) The Bruce Sterling article I'm linking to explains the future of engineering (creating "blobjects" and more) to an audience of computer graphics professionals and academics. The products and technologies he mentions in the quote below are things I have to keep up with every day. In "When Blobjects Rule the Earth," Sterling tells the SIGGRAPH audience why they need to take over the world:

Having conquered the world made of bits, you need to reform the world made of atoms. Not the simulated image on the screen, but corporeal, physical reality. Not meshes and splines, but big hefty skull-crackingly solid things that you can pick up and throw. That's the world that needs conquering. Because that world can't manage on its own. It is not sustainable, it has no future, and it needs one.

It is going to get one from you.

Now let me briefly tell you how I think this process will play out.

Listen to this: ProE, FormZ, Catia, Rhino, Solidworks. Wifi, bluetooth, WiMax. Radio frequency ID chips. Global and local positioning systems. Digital inventory systems. Cradle-to-cradle production methods. Design for disassembly. Social software, customer relations management. Open source manufacturing.

Be warned, this is (to borrow a Sterlingism) a skull-crackingly good read. I loved it.


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