First off, I think... no, I KNOW that 3-D Printers are going to change the world in such a profound way, that we can't begin to understand it's true potential impact. In fact, if you have any extra cash lying around and are looking to make a wise investment, I highly recommend either Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) or ExOne (NASDAQ: XONE). Even though mainstream knowledge of 3-D printing is in full swing, you can still get in on the ground floor of this burgeoning revolution.
That will be $1000 payable to my Paypal account; email@example.com. You're welcome.
Now on to this; while 3-D printing will change the world for what I believe to be the better, the transition will not be without pain and loss. Many existing industries will be affected adversely; most notably manufacturing and shipping. There are also public safety concerns, such as printable guns and other weapons. Now, we can add privacy and identity theft to this list; for $4,000, Japanese company REAL-f will create a detailed replica of your face and turn it into a mask using 3D scanning and printing.
Pretty cool, no? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! For the present, you have to actually sit down and have your face carefully scanned to produce this terrifyingly realistic creepfest, but it's only a matter of time before the technology is to the point where someone can take a bunch of photos from you at a distance without your knowledge, and produce a mask of the same quality and realism. Let's go through a quick list of possible nightmare scenarios;
"My credit and debit cards were stolen and I was financially wiped out!"
"No you weren't; we have you on security cameras at every location using the cards YOURSELF!"
"I didn't kill that man; I was at home asleep!"
"Bullshit! There are over 100 witnesses who positively identified you!"
You may call me paranoid, but I prefer to think that I'm ahead of the curve. Welcome to the future.