Fresh off the launch of his Ekocycle line of lifestyle products this week, Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am sat down with architecture and design magazine Dezeen to offer up some predictions about the future of 3D printing, an area of technology the rapper is familiar with in his role as chief creative officer of 3D printing company 3D Systems.
“Eventually 3D printing will print people,” Will.i.am told the magazine. “I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying what’s fact based on plausible growth in technology.”
The musician warned that society will have to examine itself to determine rules with which to govern the 3D printing of entire people.
“Unfortunately, that is the reality, but at the same time, it pushes humanity to have to adhere to new responsibilities,” he explained. “So new morals, new laws, and new codes are going to have to be implemented. Humans – as great as we are – are pretty irresponsible. Ask the planet. Ask the environment.”
The artist’s prediction may not be that far-fetched; at least one 3D printing company, Organovo, is reportedly already 3D printing liver tissue. So far, the tissue is used mainly for research, but experts say that within a few years, 3D printed tissues and organs could begin to be used in live humans.
“If you can print a liver or a kidney, god dang it, you’re going to be able to print a whole freaking person,” Will.i.am told Dezeen. “Now we’re getting into a whole new territory. Moses comes down with the 10 commandments and says, ‘Thou shalt not…’ He didn’t say sh*t about 3D printing.”
He also said that the applications may well go far beyond printing human beings.
“You’re starting with beef, and leathers, and body parts, eventually it will get more complex,” he said. “It’s basically ‘Beam me up Scotty,’ a 3D printer that disintegrates the source.”
Will.i.am’s Ekocycle product collection, launched in cooperation with Coca-Cola at London’s Harrod’s department store on Thursday, features bicycles, clothing, and luggage — all made from recycled waste materials.
The artist is also trying his hand at wearable technology. His startup company Puls offers a smart bracelet that functions as a standalone cell phone.