Home / Blog / What will “knowledge” mean in 2050? – III

What will “knowledge” mean in 2050? – III

Scrolls disrupted the transmission of knowledge making possibile to kill space and time barriers. Image credit: Barakat

3. Knowledge contextualisation

Since the invention of writing the knowledge source has been decoupled from the knowledge consumer. This, actually, was a great step forward in the dissemination of knowledge since it killed in a single stroke the space and time barrier. A parchment could be sent thousands miles away and read at a later time.
Additionally, this decoupling also made possible to consume knowledge over and over by several recipients (as long as they could access the parchment and, of course, know how to read it!).

If parchment invention was good, the printing press was much better, slashing cost and making possible to produce many copies, thus reaching a much broader audience.

Jump to the Internet. Now knowledge is potentially accessible by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Still, with few exceptions, the paradigm of one source multiple users has remained unchanged. Yes the decrease of cost and the tremendous expansion of the offer has allowed customisation, like “books for kids”, courses for graduates in that university … 

Technology is promising a change in knowledge access that is likely to be as disruptive as the invention of writing and the printing press by enabling the possibility of customisation, up to the so called “market of one”.

Enter the world of Personal Digital Twins. This technology is just moving its first steps. It derives from the Digital Twins technology applied in industry and has been focussing on personalised health care. The basic idea is to create a digital mirror of a set of a person characteristics (creating a digital model of those characteristics) and through the use of sensors (like wearables for healthcare applications) keep this model in synch with the “real” person. Moreover, the Personal Digital Twin keeps a record of the evolution of the status of the person (an extended EHR in healthcare).

What can really make a difference is the embedding in the Personal Digital Twins of capabilities, intelligence, that can make sense of the context and the status of the person to suggest (even take) corrective actions.

Cognitive Digital Twins are an extension of Personal Digital Twin to the knowledge area. They mirror the knowledge of a person and an embedded intelligence could spot gaps and shortcomings of the knowledge owned by its physical twin (the person).

Spotting gaps requires an understanding of what is the owned knowledge, what is the existing knowledge and, crucially, what is the needed one. A gap will exist only if the knowledge needed is broader than the one owned and if such knowledge exists … somewhere.

What can a Cognitive Digital Twin do in 2050? I’ll discuss that in the next post.

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 New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. 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.