I've become obsessed with these Vice documentaries lately. Putting aside their consistency in quality, what they do really well is highlight, in an entertaining way, new (and sometimes frightening) ways of thought and living that are totally different from the norm. This may seem obvious. Vice is dedicated "alternative" views. But what's important is that they're not highlighting alternative views for alternative's sake—the documentaries are instead focusing on subjects that will be incredibly important to the mainstream in the near future.
Like this one. It focuses on a University of Texas law student named Cody R. Wilson, who has figured out how to create semi-automatic weapons in a 3D printer. Cody is an anarchist with extreme political beliefs—he says at one point that he hopes "12-year-olds have access to his files." He's eager to show the arsenal that he built without ever going to a gun show or gun shop. His supporters say that he's another Julian Assange, committed to using free information to keep the government in check. (He calls his project a Wiki.) His detractors (a large group which includes gun rights advocates) fear the ramifications that come with people owning guns that don't have serial numbers or any sort of accountability.
Why is this important to us? According to New York Times reporter Nick Bilton, over half of the country will have 3D printers within the decade. This will change many parts of the consumer economy—like, how the hell is Target going to sell cups and plates anymore? And it'll undoubtedly totally change the gun debate. Will our 1994-based regulations matter when you have a printer capable of making a high-capacity weapon? Will closing the gun show loophole do anything when you can essentially download a gun? Wild stuff. We're, uh, living in the future.
Anyway, comments are below if you'd like to add to this discussion.