GE has a cute little ad called "The future of work" praising their advances in 3D printing automation:
We'll gloss over the fact that no one in the copyediting process caught the misuse of "beg the question", and get to the heart of the matter. GE wants us to praise the awesome revolution in manufacturing that is supposed to take place with 3D printing. Fair enough--it is rather exciting to consider the implications of automatically constructed on-site objects from houses to livers.
But the sleight of hand here is all the people in hardhats. Notice how all these supposedly busy people are designing and shaping and programming in factory conditions, even as the voiceover talks about factories that build themselves. In order to show visual movement, the people have to be given things to do on camera--most of which, if you look carefully, involves shifting around and setting up laptops, and the rest of which involves mapping out and designing objects.
In reality there will be no need for all of these people. The vast majority of objects will be designed off-site by a few designers, who will send the designs wirelessly to the printers. A few very low-wage employees will push whatever buttons are necessary. A few more very low-wage employees will move around or assemble the stuff the printers spit out, which will then be shipped in self-driving trucks to a destination of choice.
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