Perhaps robotics and 3-D printers will converge. Imagine the robots getting smaller and smaller, handling materials with more precision. Imagine them becoming nanobot, moving discrete molecules into assigned positions, constructing anything to exact spec.
At this point, the robots would become an integral part of the replicator, and nothing would ever be the same again. Check out my essay on nanotechnology here. You’ll learn why I’ve called nanotech the mother technology of the Singularity.
This is merely the first generation of nanotech products. Eric Drexler, the first scientist to envision the development of nanotechnology and author of “Engines of Creation,” in which he laid out a very detailed version of his vision of nanotechnology for the general publics consideration, is convinced that the development of nanotechnology will lead to nothing short of a new industrial revolution with the potential for even more far-reaching societal changes than those produced by Industrial Revolution, Version 1.1.
He also believes that the Nanotechnology Revolution will do its work in mere years, not in decades or centuries. Once, the Nanotechnology Revolution takes hold, its growth curve will steepen drastically. In short, if Drexler is even close to being right, the 21st century will see a dramatic increase in the rate of technological development in America and around the world.