Today's direct response marketing is still not terribly direct; after seeing an ad and dialing the number or clicking the link you still go through a number of extra layers that separate you from the desired product. Imagine a future, though, in which you see an ad, act on it, and the product arrives to you the next instant. One way to do it, besides teleportation, is through the 3D printers that create products on demand right in the living room of the customer. Today these printers cost around $25,000 and their functionality is limited, but hey, whatever computers and copiers they had 30 years ago were pretty much off limits to the general public as well. Instead of paying for the products themselves, you would effectively pay for the design algorithms behind them; the algorithm would be remotely fed into your printer once the transaction is approved. Forget DRM debates around music sharing; the Napsters, Kazaas and BitTorrents of the future would be trading product designs.
This little aside was inspired by a post at We Make Money Not Art about a student project that resulted in real working products printed on a machine.
-- image credit: zCorp