Physical experiments are expensive

In any field, experiments can require custom equipment (There are many pieces of equipment or tacit knowledge that only exist in one or two places in the world, possibly rare consumables, specialized rooms or buildings etc. Physics experiments can require massive facilities in remote parts of the world or even space and huge amounts of energy. Biology has many time-related costs: experiments can require waiting for cells to multiply or breeding animals (which I suppose is like multiplying cells inside a skin bag.)

Because Science enables tools enables science the tools that enable cutting edge invention and discovery will always be expensive and require specialized knowledge. Miniaturization will continue to put tools that were previously cutting edge into the hands of many non experts and they may discover things that the serious experts did not like biohackers and computer hackers before them. (Focused play enables serendipity). However, by the time those tools become inexpensive and easy to use, the heuretics that they allow people to access will be fairly picked over. Unless we stop creating useful new scientific tools there will always be a new tool that is custom (and thus expensive) and require specialized skills. An upshot of this is that the proud statement “all science experts do can be done on these inexpensive democratized tools!” should scare the crap out of you unless we actually have something like a replicator that can seamlessly turn imagination into reality.


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