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Applying Cognitive Digital Twins to Professional Education – III

Data, information and services on the web keep growing exponentially and they are more and more accessed through mobile devices. This is a representation of what happens in terms of mobile access in a minute based on 2018 statistics. Image credit: Mobclix

OK, so far I mentioned:

  • the growing wealth in knowledge that is both practically beyond the grasp of a single mind, 
  • the obsolescence of knowledge that is directly connected to its growth (older knowledge gets rapidly superseded by new one),
  • the sense of frustration at the individual level for not being able to remain abreast of what is brewing and focus on bringing home the bacon,
  • the economic motivation of companies to outsource knowledge and how it has backfired (is backfiring);
  • the growth in the education offer, resulting from the increased knowledge available and increased need to master that knowledge leading, however, to a further increase in the knowledge space, paradoxically increasing the hurdles rather than easing them.

There are other factors that we should take into account: 

  1. the different way we have come to access information and knowledge. We do that more and more in a quick and dirty on demand way; and we do that on our mobile, whether we are on the move or not!
    Based on latest data from 2018 mobile access to internet has overtaken fixed access and, according to Google, 58% of search in 2018 came from mobile devices. This keeps growing and the increasing adoption of AR will further push the use of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). The growing pervasiveness of networks, their increased capacity and the trend towards creating local data bases (embedded in devices) and data bases at the edges provides the underpinning for effective availability of knowledge on demand.
  2. the meta-data/information/knowledge created by machines themselves, through machine learning and adversarial neural networks is introducing a further exponential growth and, more important, leads to some knowledge that will need to be taken in an empirical form (you see it and you trust it, without understanding the processes through which it has been created). This second aspect signals a crucial departure from the knowledge we have been used for millennia, i.e. acquired through the capabilities of the human brain. Now, and in the future, we will have to accept, and manage, knowledge that is beyond the human brain capability (for sure practical capabilities but possibly, think about quantum computing, also beyond its structural capabilities). This brings to the fore not just the convenience of leveraging on machines in dealing with knowledge but also on the need to rely on them.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.