Robert Bennett, Elizabeth Moon, Chris N. Brown, and Madeleine Dimond on a "Social Impacts of New Technology" panel at the Armadillocon Convention. Madeleine knows a professor who gives his students every 15 minutes a connect-break in class, when everybody is allowed to use their gadgets to check their email, etc., otherwise they'll get too anxious and distracted. Audience is shaking their heads in disbelief.
3-D printing has been on everyone's lips lately, and just a week before ArmadilloCon came an announcement that 3-D technology now makes it possible to print guns. Most people in the audience found this development chilling. Elizabeth Moon thinks that since such printing requires lots of energy, law enforcement officers might look at who is consuming lots of energy, to get clues as to who is printing guns. Robert Jackson Bennett is not sure how viable 3D printing is, given that power is going to get much more expensive in the near future. (My Twitter friends responded that you should be able to run such a printer off of solar energy.)
Chris N. Brown is hopeful about a future where technologies could be brought down to "garage level", and anyone could build surveillance drones in their garages. That way we should able to monitor what the police is doing as much as it monitors us. A woman in the audience noted that abundance of garage-level technologies might renew interest in science among American school children, 70% of which currently say science is too hard.
Read more about ArmadilloCon in my blog posts, especially about the ever-popular What You Should Have Read panel, where our well-read panelists recommend the year's best science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.