I think that within 10 years private individuals will be able to make for themselves virtually any manufactured product that is today sold by industry. I sometimes wonder if politicians realise that the entire basis of the human economy is about to undergo the biggest change since the invention of money.
-- Adrian Bowyer, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, Bath University, quoted in The Guardian, 29.03.07 Unlike the sort of hype where people just make overblown historical comparisons to persuade us of something's significance, I think all Adrian Bowyer is guilty of is overenthusiasm, and if engineers didn't come over a bit unnecessary now and then about their ideas we wouldn't have much good engineering. But aside from the new post-home-fab economy, futurism doesn't have a great predictive record, and the clock's ticking on that "within ten years".
Update 19.09.07: It's still not the new money, but home fabbing (aka "3D printing") looks like it's tentatively getting under way thanks to Ponoko... [via Bad Science]