Jack Uldrich
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The Future of Education is Converging All Around Us

Posted in Education

One of the biggest and most exciting trends in technology is that of “convergence”—or how different technologies will combined with one another to create entirely new devices. These devices, in turn, will go on to change human behavior in unique and unexpected ways.

Convergence, as a trend, is nothing new. The printing press did not materialize out of thin air. First, paper, and then ink, and ultimately moveable type had to be created before Gutenberg could create his historic device. The radio, television, computer and Internet are also the result of a convergence of various technologies.

To this end, I recently came across three articles on three different technologies which, when they converge, could change everything from how we educate and entertain ourselves to how key aspects of our economy operate.

The first is virtual reality technology. This insightful article from TechCrunch discusses the new “RealityV experience” developed by Intelligence Gaming. It is part virtual reality and part video and it is now being used by the Army to help soldiers train for real-world situations—such as dealing with a hostile crowd in a foreign country.

The video below provides an excellent overview of the technology:

The second article reviews the extraordinary advances being made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Amazingly, in a recent contest, in 25% of the cases human judges thought they were communicating with a person when in fact they were conversing with a computer! This technology, of course, is only going to improve and as it does we should expect computers—as well as robots and avatars (in virtual reality settings)—to play a more active role in our lives.

Finally, there was this article discussing how the IEEE is now developing standards for “body area networks.” One promising application of this technology is to create interactive billboards. In essence, the billboard will know when you are in its presence and it will deliver a tailored message directly to you.

This is both exciting and a little creepy, but I am more interested in how this interactive technology will converge with virtual reality and AI. When it does I can easily envision virtual reality education pods which can helping students learn in new subjects and topics in a more exciting and engaging manner. I can also envision hyper-active, 3-D video games which respond to our every move. I can also envision homes, schools and retails outlets needing to be fundamentally redesigned in order to best utilize the convergence of these three technologies—virtual reality, AI and body networks.



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