by General Fabb
At least that's the indication from a work commissioned by the US Air Force. The "Welcome to 2035… The Age of Surprise" video attempts to show some of the technologies that will be key in the year 2035. If we look at the frame captured at left, you'll see "3D Printing" shown prominently among other technologies.
The work was produced by the US Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology at The Air University. Evidently the material in the brief video is based on a detailed "multi-year future study" code named "Blue Horizons" by the Air Force. The questions to be answered by this study are:
What are the emerging technologies that will shape the US Air Force and the conflict arena in which it must operate in 20 years in the future? What could air, space and cyberspace power look like 20 years in the future? Who will have access to emerging technologies that can make a difference? How soon will these important technological achievements become fielded systems?
Big questions indeed. And apparently 3D printing is seen as an important part of the scenario, at least judging by the font size in the video.
In the Blue Horizons report, the period of 2003-?? is termed "The Age of Surprise", which at this point in 2012 we can say that is an accurate description. If you read the reports (which we highly recommend as they are quite fascinating), you'll see that 3D printing isn't explicitly mentioned - but it is likely a big component of the "Structures & Materials" "enabling technology" that apparently will drive some of the incredible capabilities described within.