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Applying Cognitive Digital Twins to Professional Education – V

A Cognitive Digital Twin can be seen as composed by three parts: one mirroring the present knowledge, skill and experience, one shadowing the processes of learning and forgetting and the third keeping track of when and how knowledge changes

What could a cognitive digital twin be? Well, if we take the 3 aspects of a digital twin and instantiate them on a cognitive digital twin we could have:

  • Cognitive digital mirror: it mirrors the knowledge, skill, experience of a person (or an organisation). The development of this mirror entails the gathering of the information as it is here and now. Based on this mirroring once could analyse the present level of knowledge, skill and experience and evaluate the gap versus what would be required facing a certain activity, project, environment
  • Cognitive shadowing: it provides the means to update the digital mirror, as new knowledge, skill and experience is acquired. Differently from the shadowing of a machine, the shadowing of human knowledge has to factor in the fading away of knowledge, what is being forgotten and the fading out of skill because it is not refreshed (exercised). Notice that the shadowing may generate “hints” that point towards the depletion of existing knowledge and skill.
  • Cognitive thread: it records the evolution of skill, knowledge and experience as well as how those have been acquired (e.g. through courses, attending a conference, being active in a project team, operating in a certain environment), also in terms of the effectiveness of acquisition: a person may be more inclined to learn by doing, another by reading, another by interacting…

As more and more knowledge is accessed on-line it gets easier and easier to track the interest of a person and with some advanced software application to detect the level of acquisition and “understanding”. One could imagine a “big-brother” scenario, and be concerned. Actually, we have to realise that our queries are monitored and are already finely tuning our profile. What a cognitive digital twin can do is to be at the service of its physical sibling. It is not a matter of recording everything, of course the more is traced the more accurate the overall picture and possibly the better the services that can be delivered. However, just a partial accumulation of data can create a meaningful mirror of a person knowledge space (and interest).

By tracking the types of devices used in the interaction, as well as the location (shadowing and threading) it is also possible to infer the preferred way of interaction and this can help the cognitive digital twin to provide indication to education services on the way to interact and display information. 

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.