– Search for knowledge in the network of CDT
Within a company several CDTs may form a network of knowledge. In turn this can be mirrored by a CDT (the firm CDT) or it may exist as a network. That would be the case when CDTs are mirroring knowledge of different ownership domains, like the distributed knowledge across companies in a Value Chain or in an ecosystem. The difference between the two is not trivial.
CDTs distributed over a value chain can interact in a framework of specified (smart) contracts resulting in a predetermined set of APIs and authorisation policies.
On the contrary, CDTs belonging to an ecosystem of companies have to operate in a looser environment and, in a way, need to be “smarter” and more autonomous to take decision on what to share and how to share it (there is not a reference framework regulating the interactions).
Query broadcasting within a predefined network can be implemented as an API and applications managing value / pricing negotiation can be implemented. At stage IV, but we are still far from that, a CDT can manage negotiations as an autonomous system, hence without the need for an external applications.
The search for knowledge may result in a specific knowledge transfer and/or in the establishment of a pairing of CDTs so that together they have the desired knowledge. This pairing is likely to become an important economic assets as CDT moves towards stage 4 (autonomous behaviour).
In case of CDTs representing a person the CDT becomes an agent to access the person or, in future evolution, stage 4, a proxy for that person, delivering knowledge on behalf of that person (see later).
There are a number of conceptual issues requiring further research.
As a CDT moves from stage III to stage IV it diverges from its physical twin, i.e. it is no longer mirroring the physical twin. In a way it is no longer a Digital Twin since it has a broader set of characteristics that are not present in its physical twin. In the case of a CDT this means that the set of knowledge is different (and broader) than the one owned by the physical twin (the person).
This, at stage IV, also leads to a behaviour that is different from the one of the physical twin. This is why some researchers object to the idea of DT moving at stage IV and would rather see an external application to embed the extra functionality, thus preserving the mirroring characteristics of a DT.
Other researchers do not see this as an issue pointing to the fact that at stage IV there is an “extension” of the object (or person) characteristics, an augmentation, provided by the digital twin. At this stage there no longer is a separation between the physical and the digital twin, rather the emergence of a new entity partly living in the physical world and partly in the cyberworld.
In this interpretation the issue of divergence is no longer existing since at that point the Digital Twin (or the CDT) is representing in the cyberspace the augmented entity.
However, this rises a number of ethical, societal and economic issues that are discussed in the following posts.