Last week I talked about the Third Industrial Revolution currently underway in our country and around the globe. We looked at the technology driving the revolution, like interconnected communications (the internet), 3-D Printing, and renewable energy. We looked at the “Internet of Things,” and all of those buzzwords that everyone in technology is throwing around.
But what about the people driving the movement? Who are they, where are they, and what are they working on?
To figure that out, we need to look no further than the Do-It-Yourself Movement. Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, can mean anything from fixing your own car, doing your own home improvements, building a telescope, homebrewing beer, mending your clothing, and everything in between. It means creating your own stuff, and repairing things rather than tossing them in the garbage and getting new ones.
What we’re talking about, at its essence, is the democratization of creation. This idea is nothing new, for sure, and has been around more popularly since at least the 1950’s. But as we came out of the 1980’s and into the age of the World Wide Web, we saw the DIY movement really take off. The democratizing effects of the internet were a perfect fit for the empowerment of the DIY movement.
And so we face a new beginning of the movement right now. Craftspeople, artisans, and technologists alike, enabled by new technology and the internet, are only a Google search away from creating their next idea, like building your own robot. Or learning how to mend a broken furnace. Or 3D printing a new musical instrument.
And this is the special thing about what’s happening. Everyone is a maker. As Karim Asry said about the maker movement “it [The Maker Movement] is accelerating innovation and making it possible for a whole society to activate its latent potential,” he said. “This is grassroots innovation and it’s going to set up a lot of opportunity.”
The democratizing idea of the Maker Movement boils down to this: we are all makers. Whether your a programmer, a carpenter, a sewer, or a creator of any other number of things, we’re all builders. We can, each one of us, change the world (or village!) around us one hack at a time.
So, to come back to our question: “Who are the people behind the Third Industrial Revolution?” To a large part, it’s you and I. It’s everyday people who decide that, rather than consume products, we will create them, or modify them, or set them on fire (I’m talking about soldering, of course).
We are the people behind the Third Industrial Revolution.