Yesterday, you'll recall, I blogged about a little house that was built in Russia, on the spot, using 3-d printing or "additive manufacturing," for a little over $10,000. And in recent years we've also occasionally covered stories about the use of the technology to print various biological components: organs and so on.

Well, many readers of this website noticed a significant story that was reported just this past January, of the latest application of the technology to "print" human organs, in this case, skin:

Spanish scientists create 3D bioprinter which can print functional human skin

Now, there's a disturbing passage here:

It may be the biggest human organ, but it’s about to become a lot less finite.

That’s because scientists in Spain have developed a prototype for a 3D bioprinter that is capable of producing totally functional human skin.

The skin can be used for research purposes, testing cosmetics and other chemical-based products, and for transplanting onto human patients.

“(It) can be transplanted to patients or used in business settings to test chemical products, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products in quantities and with timetables and prices that are compatible with these uses,” said José Luis Jorcano, one of the researchers behind the project. (Emphasis added)

Note the now-familiar tactic whenever such technologies are being advanced and "sold" to the public, the good old  "think of the health benefits" argument. Well, true enough, such skin would be a convenient test bed for testing pharmaceutical products and cosmetics, and this is sure to have the animal rights' advocacy community's attention, for currently, as is well known, animals are use as test subjects for cosmetic products and so on, and as a result, suffer. Getting rid of that would be good. However, it does not take a great leap of the imagination nor much "high octane speculation" to realize that such printed organs could also be convenient test beds for other purposes, such as the testing of skin-absorbed bio-weapons, and so on.

However, my real concern today is the connection between this story and the following story that many people also shared:

Get ready for robots with human flesh

And in case you missed that important paragraph, here it is:

Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue, and they say the technology is there if we only choose to develop it. Writing in Science Robotics, Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr argue that humanoid robots could be the exact tool we need to create muscle and tendon grafts that actually work.(Italicized emphasis added).

Now ponder that statement in connection with the first article, for if it is now possible to 3-d print human skin, then the possibility of 3-d printing specific human musculature is not far behind, and with that, the "human looking robot." Forget about the humanoid robots of I, Robot of Isaac Asimov's celebrated sci-fi classic or the movie with Will Smith, or C3PO of the Star Wars series with its definitely mechanical robots and "droids". In effect, the robots would increasingly look human, more like the "androids" of the Alien series of movies.

And since we were talking yesterday about the decline of labor productivity, why even bother hiring expensive actors (like Will Smith) at all, when one could design a robot with a certain "look"? Why hire expensive performers for a rock band or symphony orchestra when one could simply create a whole orchestra of robots, which, incidentally, wouldn't make "mistakes"?

Asimov foresaw it all in I, Robot, and one can only hope that the same people who are pushing the "androidization" of human society will also be giving some thought to the three fundamental rules of robotics that Asimov also wrote about.

And it's worth mentioning that things didn't go so smoothly, in spite of the best of intentions and the three rules of robotics, in Asimov's "fiction," which, unfortunately, looks more like it is becoming science fact.

See you on the flip side...

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Going for a 5th[comment, not a bottle!].
    Just can’t resist where my favorite fiendish friend AI roams – spawning a new copy of a digital worker, is as easy as loading a new program into its working memory – life becomes Rockefeller cheap. A mercantile business continually updating just-in-time new copy workforces, adapting as-needed[despite the higher death factor, living for one subjective day, or some predetermined profit parameters that have been set. The best of the best, of these, could be used as stud templates where fresh copies are stamped-out daily.

    • Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      see u[AI]
      wouldn’t want to be u.

    • goshawks on March 12, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      RB, your “spawning a new copy of a digital worker, is as easy as loading a new program into its working memory – life becomes Rockefeller cheap” reminded me of the 2nd movie in the 2nd “Star Wars” trilogy. There, they dropped a dozen or so irreplaceable Jedis into a horde of robotic fighting machines. My first thought was always “Stupid!” These folks were one in a million, and then trained for a lifetime to actualize their abilities. Then, you put them into a situation where one ‘magic bullet’ from a zillion identical ‘digital workers’ can end them. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

      • Robert Barricklow on March 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Makes one wonder whose writing
        and/or getting published.
        Too many clones; you can damn sure of that.
        Also, as we know:
        This isn’t AI’s 1st rodeo.

  2. Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Two out of four posts made it through[including, I assume, this one your now reading. It seems AI & I agree to disagree.

  3. Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Just got moderated for using Philip K author’s last name. This current AI bot is apparently as dumb as a post.
    But, as we know here: consternation and fear would be close to the mark as to the possible future of this dumb fence post. The best frame from which to view this future would be one of bitter determination for mankind to become as competent as hell, as if we were either preparing to face the realization of our dreams; or an obliteration of them[handed our heads by AI]

    • Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      When this sought after so-called higher intelligence realm is being pursued; the challenge will become[as it is now] to hold on to our humanity, for we literally have skin in the game – to maintain our groundedness, our common sense, and good-natured decency even in the teeth of this most unnatural inhuman entity – this, it turns out, IS:
      The essential task of all ages.

    • Sandygirl on March 13, 2017 at 7:54 am

      How ironic – Philip K. Said in a speech in 1977 “We are living in a computer generated world” and they laughed at him. And here we are today where the computer is controlling our speech and our actions even more. It brings back memories of the cartoon The Jetsons.

      • Robert Barricklow on March 13, 2017 at 11:06 am

        When I first read him, he was ok. Then, after revelations from Dr. Farrell’s work and other factors, his works took on a whole new level of meaning. He’s in my top handful of writers that elevate one’s consciousness/spirit.

        By the way, the first comment on that PKD is still in moderation.

  4. Robert Barricklow on March 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    L Philip K Dick’s head yet again[a painstakingly-crafted replication android head of the author that went missing in the labyrinth bureaucracy of an airline in 2005. It appeared at several airports before finally going poof in Washington state. He was deeply paranoid[knew the truth of ruling elite’s history/plans] and heavily engaged in AI. At that time the state of the art synthetic skin was Christine frubber ad was to makes it’s dramatic appearance, but was literally headed off in Washington.
    Now who has skin in this current game?

  5. Jon on March 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    First thing that comes to my mind is the Terminator. Imagine thousands of Arnold Terminators marching out of the factories and into your neighborhood – serving burgers at your local fast food joints. Satellite/cell tower wifi enabled and ready to exterminate the useless eaters on a moment’s notice.

    If you add the military work on robots and exoskeletons to this, you end up with the Arnold model ( a T-100 if I remember correctly – the T-1000 was the polymimetic alloy – liquid metal – model).

    Maybe that was part of the purpose behind those movies – to prepare young kids to think that the Arnold model “is cool,” and build social acceptance. I can see “teach your Terminator to smile” contests at school . . . .

    I think the warnings of Will Smith’s I Robot movie version are profoundly prophetic. Kind of like Wall-e’s vision of humans becoming grossly obese and sucking on giant sodas all day long.

    I think they are telling us what they are going to do to us ahead of time, and getting a huge laugh at how easily people are herded into their dismal future, sometimes eagerly adopting it as fans.

  6. SoCal G on March 12, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Like WalkingDead wrote, my first thought was the Terminator as well. Then again, produced en masse, and with the right software programming, they would make a great “Space Army” and I am sure DARPA has already thought about that.

    • Kahlypso on March 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      dont see why they’d need the flesh for the space army . . . . Ah.. additional shielding?

  7. marcos toledo on March 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    You forgot The Ghost In The Shell manga-anime and upcoming movie. Throw in sex -torture bots to satisfy our elites twisted fantasies. Ghost In The Shell meets Akama Ga Kill the perfect slaves for our soulless brain dead masters.

  8. goshawks on March 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Sigh. The last Asimov robot book (spoiler alert!) had a robot ‘thinking-up’ a Fourth Law: that no robot through inaction could allow the human SPECIES to come to harm (an inductive extension of the other laws). Deducing that the human race was stagnating – and thus likely to die-out over the millennia – as long as it had it’s mother planet to fall-back on, that robot put in place measures that would render Earth uninhabitable over the centuries. Read that again. Intellect without empathy is highly dangerous…

    Recently, I wrote a comment about how psychic abilities seemed to be undergoing a selecting-out (extermination) process. Imagine that you were an AI-type, contemplating creating androids that were indistinguishable (on the surface) from humans. What TYPE of human would be your greatest challenge or potential foe? And, what would the AI do about that? Think about it…

  9. Kahlypso on March 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Hang on.. This is talking more about strapping muscle tissue to robots as it grows, so its pulled and pushed as it would as if it were growing in a normal human body. Its a solution to a problem of atophied muscle being grown.
    The whammy for me is the fact that the technology is getting that refined, that they need to adress this problem.
    I’m sure the human skin graft will be marketed as skin cancer treatement, but I have flashes of old rich people (with grafted pig-clone grown) organs, filled to the brim of childblood… Only thing to do now is get rid of those wrinkles…

    • Kahlypso on March 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

      And looking at the two articles together.. it would make an excellent assassin if the tech. were to be abused by certain military / intelligence people…

  10. Eve Leung on March 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

    When scientist finally create a Equation for Love and Equation for Stupidly, robot are welcome to replace human, but before that, let us re-watch (Movie) The World’s End: 12 Pubs, 12 Pints, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? It tells the artificial intelligent – They can’t win a argument over the “stupid” human ^_^ The end result? System crash LOLOLOLOLOL

  11. WalkingDead on March 12, 2017 at 8:31 am

    “Terminator”, anyone? Just drop them at night behind enemy lines and have them go to work. The elitists wet dream for a totally subservient population, they only need to eliminate the ~6.5 billion “useless eaters” and produce 500,000 of these to have the world they desire.

    • Cate on March 13, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      But would they? I imagined a world where Ol’Whitey was gone, and replaced with random, leftover serfs.
      ‘They”, the self-chosenites, wouldn’t like it. Even less likely to appreciate lordship over AI- what’s the point. Like s e x with a blow-up doll, it’s not a ‘shared experience.’ I’m starting to get the idea that part of their sickness is actually the kick, the thrill of TRYING to wipe us out. If they actually succeeded, bah, game over. The thrill has gone. Who would keep the game afloat? Who would create the civilisation they must suck from to survive? It would all collapse in to some slimy, murky, non-event. Like having a war of wits with an unarmed person.

  12. Neru on March 12, 2017 at 6:21 am

    So on top of, already big pile “need to read” comes Asimov’s works too!

    Those “robots” may be capable of being “perfect in mimicking” I also suspect that humans with their “creativity” intact would spot them right away.

    I don’t like house cleaning one bit but never would want any robot near my house let alone in it. The thing would give me the shivers, the fact alone it could overcome its programming!

    Having a computer in my living room connected to the internet that is suspected of not just being programs running over a net but an aware consciousness gives me nightmarish thoughts enough.

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