There’s an overwhelming amount of things recommended to read, hear and watch on a second-by-second basis these days. But I’d say it’s worth spending 15 minutes checking out this Wired Future Cities video on Shenzhen in China, described as ‘The Silicon Valley of Hardware’.
At the moment it seems that software and the internet has entered a period of gradual evolution, and all the predictions for revolutions will be in bio technology, hardware etc. As always, what will actually power any revolution is harder to predict, and probably won’t look much like anything we’ve got at the moment, but it does seem than Shenzhen might be where it will appear first.
It’s also interesting to compare the current Western trends for both Makers and artisan craftsmen who seem more attuned to reviving traditional small scale manufacturing methods. At the highest end of Western manufacture, there’s the ability to rapidly prototype and iterate, and there’s a similar potential for groups of companies at the smallest end if ecosystems like Shenzhen spring up (I know there are pockets of hardware/manufacturing technologies in various Western countries, but I wonder if they’ll reach the same scales and levels of accessibility, particularly with regards to cost and the rather loose concept of copyright and IP that exists in China).
Either way, it’s fascinating – I’ve always been fascinated with the manufacture of physical hardware, whether it’s related to combustion engines or silicon chips…