Are atoms the new bits? The debate continues

3D Printing & Imaging


Recently we featured a lively point-counterpoint post featuring Dale Dougherty and Joel Johnson debating the merits of Chris Anderson’s Atoms are the New Bits article in Wired. Now the Thingiverse blog is weighing in with this thoughtful opinion piece by Allan Ecker titled Atoms are not the New Bits. Yet.. What do you think, readers?

6 thoughts on “Are atoms the new bits? The debate continues

  1. Donald Haas says:

    Most of this debate comes down to interpretations of the article title and that one phrase, “Atoms are the New Bits” I took that phrase to be somewhat of a hyperbole when I first read it because OBVIOUSLY we aren’t desktop manufacturing down to the atomic level. I think most of this debate would never have happened if that was phrased differently. However, the debate is getting people to weigh in on where they see this phase of our society going, so in the end I think it’s a great title!

  2. RocketGuy says:

    Using a phrase as a straw man is mildly entertaining, but not exactly laden with life-changing meaning.

    More interesting to me is this essay that pretty much states what I and I’m sure many others have been thinking.

    The idea that it’s really about energy in the future really struck a nerve, and I think he’s right.

    Presuming that we get there without any truly nasty mis-steps (i.e. gray goo scenario etc) I’m really looking forward to new venues of creativity and productivity that move everybody upwards.

  3. premature anti-fascist says:

    Before atoms can really become the new bits, we have to settle whether or not bits can be constrained the way atoms are. There’s several industries that are trying to convince us that we must legally treat bits as if they were atoms, and by the way, the internet is merely an improved type of television.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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