Distributed Meritocratic Microfactory
Distributed production on the scale of villages or cities is an option for advanced civilization. Day by day technology is improving and declining in size, such that with wise use, unprecedented prosperity can result. OSE's GVCS is one path being explored for unprecedented prosperity on a small scale. Proofs of concept over the second decade of the 21st century appear to have shown all the necessary technological pre-requisites - resulting in potential for industrial productivity on a small scale. World Peace Institute requires open source economics as a prerequisite for lasting peace, and on first principles, antifragile economies (open source + regenerative) based on lifelong learning are key.
To demonstrate an example, we can consider an accessible route for individuals to live without violence, namely, without destruction in the broad sense - of nature or human relations. This means maximizing individual responsibility within a collaborative whole, and transcending the risk of democratic decline. Starting with prosperity and thus peace. In such a scenario, access is key, and each individual must gain a route to participate in Antifragile Production. This is the opposite of a centralized economic system based on monopoly, currently operative in the mainstream.
In Antifagile Production - people have access to unlimited productive power that otherwise is purchsed, via alienation for compensation as the general trend. People sell their time to provide for other necessities, in a highly specialized world. We call for up-skilling individuals to productivity, as a way to a higher level of agency in the world. Loss of hope and meaning can result if we miss out on agency.
In a world of increased agency, people have access to productive capacity. We propose the Microfactory as the key element - a distributed network of global-collaborative product design, reified in builds in the localized microfactories. The internet age, miniaturization of technology, Abundant Renewable Energy, and automation make this possible. While clearly usable by people who can build things - that section of the population is a great minority - see Trades Statistics. But we can make production more attractive:
- Apply the Construction Set Approach - transitioning technology in general from inaccessible to Lego-like playable
- Apply Extreme Manufacturing and Swarm Builds to shift to collaborative and social production
- Apply rapid learning access - augmented reality, open source CAD, virtual environments that enhance peoples' build skills
- Apply automation - dangerous, fatiguing, and highly repetitive tasks can be done by robots
- Shift culture from consumers to farmer scientists and poets
The Microfactory is a crowd-funded subscription model. It can also be built as a Special Economic Zone showpiece wherever it is located. Skill can be fed into it via OSE School, and it could be a core part of any Campus. Rough economics would involve 1000 supporters, and a startup cost of $5M. This would be a hefty $5k membership, but if one could produce a car, house, or other articles of interest in there, then we are talking peanuts. With access to steel, concrete, lumber, and plastic, that means one could build their car or house or renewable energy system, while gaining a universal productive education.
The specific tracks of the related OSE Core Enteprise Module center around developing core technologies (know-what), know-how, and mindset (know-why) necessary to absorb the Antifragile Production Microfactory. The opporunity that arises from the applied knowledge allows novices to enter - as the knowledge creates the necessary Construction Sets that are foundational to access. Revenue models can be production workshops (build 6 machines over a weekend, etc), membership with part of OSE School training, and products sold in the showroom. This can absorb anyone from a pure consumer to a seasoned builder, while allowing for a lifetime design infrastructure based on lifelong access to the Microfactory for product service and improvements. Thus, we are closing materials cycles and enabling lifetime design in a circular economy - connected right to the land that the microfactory is on. The land is also productive in terms of natural resource stewardship.
How does such a system lead to Distributed Market Substitution - for example, for cars? Tesla now makes 1/2M cars per year . Ford makes 1.7M . Toyota makes 10 million . 1 million vehicles means a capacity of 1000 per microfactory, with 1000 microfactories. How real is this?
Very. With 7 billion people, there are 7 thousand million person population centers. One million is about the right size in terms of supporting a comprehensive advanced civilization, though in the extreme case, a modern standard of living can be produced with about a Dunbar's number of Open Source Ecologists starting from dirt and twigs.
Thus take the nominal 10k facilities worldwide - and a nominal production of 100 cars per year. If these are lifetime design cars, these count as 10x the quantity, effectively. A Multiple story microfactory on an acre can sustain an operation with about 12 bays - producing 12 cars over a weekend. This is done once a month. This still leaves much room for other production, pending storage space and logistics for parts. What makes the Microfactory a compelling choice over centralized production is: (1) lifetime design and retention of wealth; (2) closed loop meterials, such as on-site hot metal rolling and tool and die. (3) All is produced with renewable energy, and environmental stewardship is provided with on-site processing and recycling. It is simply taking the best known practces, and doing them on a much smaller scale as enabled by collaborative design, and open access to rapid learning.
The meritocratic part is key to addressing governance issues. Those who choose responsibility, choose merit. That merit is transparent, such as documented on a transparent ledger - for which the technology exists. Those who choose merit - and anyone else - have a level playing field of open access to knowhow. All this is supported by the initial focus on psycho-social integration of the individual towards open collaboration.
The greatest challenge here is whether the meritocratic system of assuming responsibility is achievable - can a social contract based on responsibility be created in a community of dozens startup individuals - growin to village scale? The scale indicates yes. The OSE model of the Core Enterprise Module - growing 24 responsible people at a time in 4 years - appears doable. Village scale is a known coherent scale of organization. Add to this the aspect of global collaboration, and this can work. The promise is work-life integration towards prosperity, with nonviolence. Essentially, a state of being un-jobbed towards the possibility of full Self-Determination.
We hope that the part of 'responsibility' transcends any incentives towards in-fighting, violence, and corruption. Since we can learn - and the model is based on lifelong learning - we are optimistic that the economic system can be transformed to collaborative, and an unprecedented era of prosperity would arise. As long as we are vigilant in nurturing freedom throughout the journey, this could work.
- Goal is on-demand open source production via self-agency and rapid learning
- Transparent rapid learning infrastructure - from as simple as visual presentations to AR environment to 3D game - are provided based on ability to learn something in minutes. Includes AR training bays for the relevant tool training. Game provides assembly practice with joystick, and provides VR environment with sensing of hand motions in 3D. Ability to grab and manipulate objects in 3D for manual step. Other side of machine augmentation is precision CNC cartesian and robot arms for tasks that cannot be done readily by humans.
- This is a complete human-machine collaboration environment.
- Automation exists for 3D motion or cartesian robotics wherever useful
- People invest, for a specific usufruct and training right. Separated into online, site-based, and virtual devices in training. On site, it is building the site, running it, starting from land acquisition.
- Steps are grading the site, building infrastructure - with rebar, dirt, and concrete, 3D printed plastic forms.
- Requires infrastructures: heavy machinery, precision cnc, robot arms, waterjet cutter, welders, 3D printing recycling infrastructure, Ardupilot motion control, computer vision for part recognition.
- Rapid learning involves phone app scan for object recognition in a learning environment
- Crowd funding is based on productivity with coordination of 24 person crews. Crew applies to infrastructure consturction as well, with production runs lasting 5 days in a 'swarm build' scenario.
- This builds in lifetime product support through the available production infrastructure.
- Applies to any product from house to car to tractor to PV panel to semiconductors, including materials production such as steel or silicon ingot.
- People simply sign up for production runs.
- Likely around $1M design + $2M startup for any product. $3-5M startup per microfactory, to generate New Industrial System - with productivity of $20k/day value as a baseline for a $3-5M facility. If startup is $5M, payback is 250 days. Anything on the scale of a year is highly scalable.
- Includes complete "Learn how to Design", "Learn Physics", "Learn to Count", etc - rapid learning crash courses for smart individuals. However, 'Smart' is multifaceted - it could be organizationally, physical dexterity, brains, logic - but it has to be bound by collaborative literacy. It must be cross-trained.
- Transparent ledger funding - with normal currency or cryptocurrency - crowdfunds the operation
- This is a subscription-based enterprise, where each individual can easily produce a lifetime's worth of value in a few years, or at least $50k value in one year at quarter time effort. Membership may be about 10 years, or life, depending on one's need. Annual membership is $5k, or 10% of your value generation. 1000 people can be served as the customer base. Are these the right numbers? 1000 as in a few villages in scale.
- Basisc of meritocracy: you learn something, you have merit to do it. Badge or transparent merit ecosystem.