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Friday, February 16, 2024

3D Printing: Pakistan’s Economic Revival through Technology

In times of technological advancement, Pakistan should not shy away from evolving rather work to make the conditions better. 3D Printing is the technology of future Pakistan should heavily invest in.

It should not come as a surprise that the integration of technology is considered a vital part of economic development but this is essentially true when it comes to a country like Pakistan. Economically, Pakistan has struggled for the past decades to come to terms with a viable and stable policy. These are desperate times for Pakistan economically and desperation demands innovation.

Fortunately for Pakistan, the new era that is dawning is one of the ‘new economies’. The idea of a new economy argues that due to the various technological revolutions, the world is now moving out of the traditional business models and modern companies are designing their structures around such technological advances.

An indication to this idea is the rise of technology-based companies. Out of the top twenty most valuable brands in the Forbes list, twelve are technology-based. This is no mere coincidence; rather a systematic integration of modern technologies has enabled the meteoric rise of such companies.

For Pakistan, certain technological areas that can boost Pakistan’s economic progress are 3D Printing and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What is 3D Printing

3D Printing utilizes additive manufacturing techniques to produce objects of desire. This ensures less spillage and wastage of material when compared to subtractive manufacturing. Similarly, 3D Printing is allowing the global supply chain to move towards cloud-based computing. The future of 3D printing may allow consumers to directly manufacture products in their homes by downloading the necessary manufacturing designs from the producers.

For a country like Pakistan, it is imperative to understand the development curve of future economies. Technology is paving the way for a more progressive and adaptive economic future.

The emphasis, therefore, will shift from maintaining manufacturing capabilities to ensuring intellectual property rights over ideas. The major concern for technology-based companies in the next decade will be to ensure their intellectual rights, rather than focusing on logistics or production capacities.

Another aspect that is unique about 3D printing is that it provides multiple options to the consumers. 3D printers have been known to print food items, clothing, decorative items and much more.

In fact, in China, 3D printers were used to construct earthquake-proof houses and there have also been instances where 3D printers have been used to create human organs (cartilage) for transplant purposes. Imagine the potential of such technologies in the health and construction sectors of Pakistan.

Conversely, there is also the issue that 3D printing technologies have not been able to demonetize and therefore, are expensive consumer options. It should, however, be mentioned that the rapid pace of technological progress may allow for the swift affordability of 3D printers in the near future.

Read more: ‘First’ 3D print of heart with human tissue, vessels unveiled

This phenomenon has also been seen in the progress of electric vehicles in the past decade. The first generation electric vehicles were seen as unpractical, cumbersome and unfeasible. However, the rapid progress of technology related to electric vehicles has shown such progress and potential that there are now thoughts of maintaining fleets of electric semi-trucks for transportation purposes. It would not be imprudent to assume that the future may see a similar development curve for 3D printing.

For a country like Pakistan, it is imperative to understand the development curve of future economies. Technology is paving the way for a more progressive and adaptive economic future. Unfortunately, Pakistan seems to be plagued with organizational inertia when it comes to adopting proactive measures. It needs to be remembered that Pakistan has banned the import of 3D printers citing security reasons.

If Pakistan is to compete with future economies of the world, the answer is not to shy away from technologies but rather to embrace it. It goes without saying that every technological development comes with a catch-22 situation. The internet has been used to revolutionize the world, but it has also been used by various criminal and terrorist organizations for nefarious purposes.

However, due to the intricate nature of the internet of modern economies, no country can afford to completely abolish the use of it. The future of 3D printing may also see such an intrinsic relationship with economic development. Therefore, regulation rather than prevention should be the government’s priority when it comes to handling the proliferation of 3D printing technology.

Mr. Zeeshan Javed is currently working as a Consultant at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. He holds an M.Phil in Strategic Studies from the National Defense University, Islamabad. His area of expertise is in the integration of modern technologies with the civilian and military domain. In addition to this, he also holds extensive knowledge on the issues of military technology development, nuclear deterrence, strategic stability issues, and conventional force balance. He has also served as a Research Fellow at the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI). The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.