Digital Twins are spreading with more and more companies adopting them in a growing number of market sectors. Design and Manufacturing today are leading the way (watch the clip by T-Systems International). As this happens we are seeing Digital Twins becoming a bridge that connects the physical and the virtual world. More than that: it is starting to involve humans (Cognitive Digital Twins), both as they are required to walk that bridge in their everyday activities and as they start to see the rise of their own Digital Twin. Digital Twins and Physical Reality are separated by a thin line, getting thinner and fuzzier every day more. And this brings to the fore a number of intriguing questions that have been listed by Derrick de Kerckhove in his article on Mondo Digitale.
As it is often the case when dealing with societal issues, the questions are more important than the answers, since the questions remain, whilst the answers will be different in different environment and will change with time. Questions make us think and as we think we change ourselves.
Here the points raised by Derrick:
Jobs are and will be affected by the deployment of autonomous systems and Digital Twins, but their effect will be broader:
“Autonomy: the more decisions are made by machines, the less freedom of decision and movement is left for people;
Individual property and control of thought: we are no longer exclusive owners of our thinking because I.A. is perfectly capable of retracing it, even in real time;
Psychological interiority: I’m emptying myself, first because instead of building my inner self, I pour my self in social media, then because the machine is acquiring expanding and extending my internal cognitive functions, including memory, intelligence and imagination;
Reputation: the era of ubiquitous public and private surveillance and one-way transparency puts us naked in the street.“
These aspects steer a number of questions worth investigating, your comments on any of them will be greatly appreciated and will be considered in the preparation of the third SAS White Paper:
What format could/should industry devise for our digital twin (augmented Digital Assistant applications – different ‘skins’ – long term – occasional/permanent)?
Could our DT become a fashion item or an art form?
How many DTs should a single person be allowed (secure identifiers – formal ownership contractual policy)?
What content should DTs integrate (lifelogging – punctual – real-time/continuous updating – open or restricted database access)?
What kind of connectivity would be most useful (to owner – to other twins)?
What software capability should be programmed into our DT (various levels Data Analytics – descriptive – predictive – prescriptive)?
What kind of regulation – if any – should DTs be subject to (responsibility – accountability –
What level of autonomy should the DT be granted (unsupervised – supervised – accountable)?
What order of ethical priorities should be mandatory for developing and using DTs (ethical behavior – manners – being answerable)
What legal status should DTs be granted?
What should be done with one’s DT after one’s demise? What roadmap should be considered for developing DTs?