Will.i.am Really Wants You to Stop and Think Before You 3D-Print a Human

By Kate Knibbs on at

In an interview with Dezeen, perhaps that best interview that I have ever read, Will.i.am boldly pushes a new agenda calling for new laws to stop 3D printing humans sowing the seeds of our society's moral collapse BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

Yes, Will.i.am—pop star, once and future hologram, Intel employee, hyperlink pioneer, purveyor of terrible wearables, Chief Creative Officer of a 3D printing company—is now also Bombastic Soothsayer of the Coming 3D-Printed-Human Anarchy:

"Eventually 3D printing will print people," said Will.i.am. "I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just saying what's fact based on plausible growth in technology."

He's not saying he agrees with it. Smart move. Best not to agree with a hypothetical artificial human production scheme. At least until the details emerge. He did not, however, reveal the Lesser Peas' opinions on the matter, leaving us woefully uninformed about whether apl.de.ap maybe yearns for an uprising of 3D printed life forms, or whether Fergie would support 3D printing a version of herself that doesn't pee its pants.

I.am says he expects this to happen "in our lifetime." Will.i.am is currently 39 years young, so even if he lives to 119 years old, this means he anticipates this development within 60 years. This is an impressively optimistic estimate of the time-frame in which 3D printers will progress past single-coloured balls to conjure human life wholesale and upset the delicate balance between man, Gods, and i.ams.

"If you can print a liver or a kidney, god dang it, you're going to be able to print a whole freaking person," said Will.i.am. "Now we're getting into a whole new territory. Moses comes down with the 10 commandments and says 'Thou shalt not...'. He didn't say shit about 3D printing."

"When you have god-like tools, who's governing me? I don't know. I could create life. So new codes and morals – beyond laws – something has to be instilled into us. Before, when it was time to reproduce you had to mate. But now..."

Will.i.am is 100% correct that Moses did not say mention anything on the record about 3D printing. And his musings on the ultimate governability of man are trenchant.

But then there's this, where he outlines a path of logic about the enormous potential of 3D printers and how they willaccomplish feats on technology that, as of yet, no 3D printers nor any other technology can do:

"You're starting with beef, and leathers, and body parts. Eventually it will get more complex. It's basically beam-me-up Scotty, a 3D printer that disintegrates the source. Star Trek is pretty cool, because they had things like iPhones, and the internet. They also had 3D printers, that was beam-me-up Scotty. Teleportation."

Just to summarize: Will.i.am has Will.i.asserted that 3D printers could one day (within the next 60 years) create human life, serve as conduits for teleportation, AND operate as a catalyst for the disintegration of society's implicit and explicit legal and moral regulations. Boom boom pow!

This is Jaden-and-Willow levels of cosmically, gloriously wacky, so much so that I'd assume that Will.i.am contacted the youngest Smith offspring, if it was not for my lingering suspicion that Will.i.am greatly begrudges Will Smith for cornering the phrase "Willennium."


Image by AP