Extended reality is becoming an increasingly popular term among futurists. It can be defined as the future of the human mind. This term is sometimes used in television shows as well, but it is more common in scientific publishing where it anticipates the formation of artificial intelligence supercomputers that will enable humans to share digital experiences with each other. These experiences could involve audio and video together with brainwave patterns and biofeedback.
Extended reality is simply a term referring to the growing field of digital and non-digital combined realities, both personal and collective. E.g. in our world in 2012, we may be able to link our virtual reality environment together using collective digital navigation systems and non-real-time translation using our brain activity. We could imagine a scenario where the Earth is dotted with solar panels which collect solar energy during the day, and then store it in batteries for later use at night. Our civilization is moving into the age of extended reality.
There are already some efforts to use this concept in education. In one example of a Future Learning initiative at the University of Michigan, students are using the term reality in two different ways. Firstly, they use it to describe the technologies that are available to help us learn other languages; and secondly, they use it to refer to the way in which traditional education methods are being replaced by new approaches such as blended learning. Another emerging application in education is that of the Future Learning Alliance (FLA), which is using the term extended reality to describe new teaching methods that combine established learning methods with cutting-edge emerging technologies.
The key challenge is to expand the digital platform from the present day to the future. Humans are perfectly capable of creating a very vivid virtual reality, although it is debatable whether they can sustain it indefinitely. This is because there are constraints beyond the nature of human consciousness. For instance, if we continue to improve our technology, there will be constraints on our ability to create the kinds of societies that we want. There is no doubt that in the coming years, there will be greater challenges to human societies, including the possibility of extended scarcity.
What does this mean for the XR strategy? The strategy must address the issues of how to deal with the problem of scarcity, and also the political challenges that come from the adoption of advanced technologies and globalization. The ultimate aim of the XR strategy is therefore to prevent global warming.
But it is not sufficient to prevent global warming. We have to be able to adapt to it and protect ourselves and our civilization against it. The most important part of this is to use geo-engineering solutions to mitigate climate change. As long as geo-engineering is used, it will be possible to prevent global warming.
The XR strategy therefore has a dual aspect. On the one hand, it calls for geo-engineering solutions to mitigate climate change, by getting rid of some of the emissions that cause global warming. On the other hand, the strategy also calls for the adaptation of the society to the challenges of tomorrow. The latter aspect is often called a double-edged sword.
A successful geo-engineering program will need to take into account both aspects. Unfortunately, in the current period, geo-engineering is only a part of the solution. While many scientists believe that geo-engineering will solve the problem, more funding is needed to support its cost. This is why the XR strategy is part of the larger strategy to prevent global warming.