Regular people are barely using 3d-printers at home, and 3D-printed homes are not yet commonly printed, but China is already planning to 3d-print a massive dam in Tibet, with an AI-powered design and no human laborers. The endgame is to deliver 5 billion kWh of electricity per year.
The project originated from the laboratory of hydroscience and engineering at Tsinghua University 10 years ago, with the overall idea being to build the largest 3d-printer in the world effectively. That would be many times larger than what we use to print 3d homes today.
Like a consumer-level 3d-printing, the 180-meters high dam would be built in one slice (layer) at a time in a very precise and systematic way.
But putting human workers aside only to use robots piloted by an AI could prove more challenging than it looks. In theory, robots could work faster and more precisely even in dangerous conditions.
However, the terrain and weather condition might be a challenge, and I expect that many engineers and staff will be on-site to keep things going. Any situation that the robots can’t handle will have to be done by humans.
The project is supposed to be done by 2024, which would be extremely impressive if that timeline could be met. As we’ve recently covered, 3d-printing is quickly revolutionizing how things are made. Sometimes, it’s with high-tech materials and tiny details, and now it could be with something enormous built at an unprecedented speed.