Melancholy About 3D Printing Technology

We are headquartered in Hokkaido, the northern most area of Japan, which is still the kingdom of brown bears. When I was a kid, my father often took me to rivers deep in the mountains to fish, always exploding firecrackers to avoid bears. He told me “When you encounter a bear, don’t run, act dead.” It’s a kind of superstition widely believed here, but I have always doubted, saying to myself “How do we know that’s right? We can’t listen to people who failed.” Later on, I learned it was survivorship bias: the reason why autobiographical books of successful people are good for nothing in most cases. Survivors survive because they happen to survive.

As this may sound a little strange, removal building sites remind me of people who acted dead but were killed by bears, though I don’t know if such people actually existed or not. In order to enjoy commuting even if a little, I make it a rule to try to find something new, something that I hadn’t noticed until the day before. Although I always pay attention to the scenery on the commuting route like this, I forget removed buildings so quickly, sometimes can’t even remember what was there. To put it simply, they make me remember the harsh reality: the world exists for survivors.

There are many things disappearing with the times from the market: rotary dial phones, VHS video tapes, etc. In addition to ones in our memories, there should be something more that we can’t even remember. Since around 2015, we have often heard the news about the technological progress of 3D printers. Now that they can make most of the organs and also buildings, why not furniture? From the perspective of a general consumer, I was just excited by the news of the world’s largest 3D printed building in Dubai in 2019, for example. As a member of a furniture manufacturer, I can’t help but feel a little negative about the future outlook of our business, just hoping some of our products will at least remain in people’s memory.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

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