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Old December 11 2012, 08:34 PM   #19
Re: Replicator Economics

But, didn't Picard himself describe that replicator as "limited?"
...Limited to providing the couple with everything they need to survive: clothing, food and water. At no energy cost, apparently, beyond what the household itself could provide.

It's a bit difficult to imagine a quantum leap in power consumption just for the added capacity of replicating complex machine parts or whatever; the "limited" machine is already performing full-fledged miracles in creating "natural" flavors and textures.

Also interesting is that the machine will provide water; this sort of goes against the idea that it would be converting existing matter. Just about any conversion process imaginable (say, from the silicates of the sand to water) would be basically as energy-expensive as materializing H2O out of pure energy, as it would involve complete transmutation of elements. And conversely, one can think of dozens of ways to cheaply get clean water out of the Class M environment without having to resort either to conversion-type replication or synthesis from pure energy, suggesting that replication isn't significantly more expensive than those processes.

Timo Saloniemi
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