Disruptive Technology: 3D Printer Revolution
Author: Chad Otsuji
One major technological innovation that I see in the horizon that has significant positive and negative consequences for global society is 3D printing. 3D printing has been around since 1983, and consumer printers cost over $100,000.00 at the time (Hoffman). Now consumer level 3D printers cost as little as $136.29 on Amazon.com. That’s a significant drop in price.
These printers are becoming so advanced; they can manufacture just about anything. According to an article by SingularityHub.com, two companies called ICON and New Story built a house with a 3D printer. This house “went from zero to finished in under 24 hours, and it cost less than $10,000. Equivalent homes built in developing countries will cost a mere $4,000 each.” Although this is only a very tiny house of 650 square feet, it is only a matter of time until we are able to create larger homes.
If this technology is implemented on a larger scale, it can revolutionize the construction industry. The average home takes between three to four months to build. With technology like this 3D printer, we are able to slice that process down to one one hundredth of the time that it takes to build a traditional home. If this technology is taken into 3rd world poverty ridden countries, we can massbuild homes for the poor.
Although this technology is revolutionary, it comes with some negative consequences. Mass producing homes with this technology will put a lot of construction companies out of business. According to statista.com, in 2016 there were approximately 10.3 million construction jobs. This technology could possibly put 10.3 million Americans out of employment. Our labor force is 161 million people, so if 10.3 million Americans are put out of work, it could increase the unemployment rate 6% (Construction Sector). This increase in unemployment could cause the next recession, so there are pro’s and con’s to major technological innovations such as this one.
“Construction Sector Employees United States 2016 | Statistic.” Statista,
Hoffman, Tony. “3D Printing: What You Need to Know.” PCMAG, PCMAG.COM, 20 June 2018,
“This 3D Printed House Goes Up in a Day for Under $10,000.” Singularity Hub, Singularity Hub, 6 Apr. 2018,
Rives, John. “How Long Does It Take To Build A House? -.” McKee Homes Blog, 17 July 2018,