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The Harvesting of Digital Nature

The Harvesting of Digital Nature

Maria Lorena Lehman Maria Lorena Lehman
4 minute read

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What Can Nature Become?

Does digital nature seem pointless? Or contradictory? Or perhaps even impossible? During this launch into the future, we will ideate what digital nature can become, and why it can serve a unique purpose in the future. But first, let’s uncover a speculative design concept to push our imagination into new realms. The following is a painting of how it might look during the harvesting of digital nature. Are you ready?

New Possibilities for Digital Nature

The beauty of physical nature on Earth is undeniable. With physical nature, humankind perceives beauty, replenishes the soul, and cultivates life. Physical nature is key to everything, and that cannot be forgotten. Yet, with continuous advancements in technology, and with emerging scientific understanding, there is a pathway for digital nature to not only surface, but also to propagate.

Of course, with this type of development, there are challenges and opportunities. Let’s look at both as we adventure onward into this future frontier:

Top 5 Ways Digital Nature Can Brighten Our Future

  • Digital nature can go where physical nature cannot exist. Imagine there is a way to feel more peaceful and at ease during a hospital stay. Well, with digital nature in your healing room, this can become possible. As of now, physical nature within a hospital setting is detrimental to sterilization practices, but digital nature can be there when its physical counterpart cannot.

  • Digital nature does not need to be watered. The maintenance of digital nature is different from the nurturing needed for physical nature. Yes, for its upkeep other requirements are needed. But these requirements are different. This allows digital nature to be designed into new environments like hospitals, offices, or even space-stations.

  • Digital nature can be harvested to produce new forms of beauty. The only limit to the beauty of digital nature is our imagination. What do you think digital nature could look like? And are there new ways it could be perceived by our senses? For example, would it be possible for flowers to emit aromas only during certain events during the day?

  • Digital nature can change seasons slowly or quickly. With digital nature, one does not have to wait for a particular season for it to bloom. For example, while working in an office, digital nature could immersively appear at 1 o’clock daily to help a worker relax in ways that may increase their creativity and productivity during their afternoon work hours.

  • Digital nature can symbiotically support physical nature. Digital nature does not have to exist in conflict with physical nature, but instead can be used to symbiotically support and protect its life. For example, when digital nature provides for humanity in ways that physical nature cannot, then we put less burden on physical nature, such as when a “digital tree trunk” can be used to fabricate recyclable building materials. This results in less deforestation.

Top 3 Challenges of Digital Nature

  • Ethical considerations. With the ability to design and propagate digital nature around the world, great care and ethical consideration is needed. After all, how far do we as a humanity go in terms of what we consider to be “nature”? And where are the boundaries for what we can and should make digital? As always, we need to be very mindful of both our initial intentions and any unexpected consequences of digital nature designs.

  • Resource considerations. While digital nature extends our physical reality, we need to also be mindful of how the resources needed to support and maintain digital nature will affect our physical world. Digital nature should nurture the health of all.

  • Management considerations. How will digital nature be managed? And by whom? As digital nature comes into existence, it is imperative to understand how it could and should be developed into the future.

Next Steps: Why Digital Nature Matters

As we travel into the realms of foresight, we see that digital nature is a potential development for the future. By now, you likely have some ideas for either more opportunities or challenges that digital nature can bring. As creatives, let us use our curiosity and our imaginations to open new pathways for the betterment of our planet and all life on Earth. For this, digital nature holds many great opportunities, that if properly designed, could increase beauty, function, and even meaning for all.

At the same time, let us not forget the tremendous beauty, function, and meaning of the physical nature that is so abundant throughout the world. This kind of nature is our inspiration and is our true lifeline.

The future is ours to co-create with nature.

For this, the future awaits.

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