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What will “knowledge” mean in 2050? – XIV

A company can create its own Cognitive Digital Twin, CDT, to mirror the whole set of company’s knowledge and support its exploitation, hence the company “intelligence”. This CDT interacts with all companies resources CTDs, in the graphic represented as instances. In addition it derives knowledge (and intelligence) from the supply, delivery chains, from customers and users, sometimes via their own CDTs. In perspective, the company CDT can be used to export the company knowledge and intelligence, via provisioning of services, thus enriching the company offer portfolio (represented by the purple CDT).

14. Augmenting an Organisation Intelligence

If it is obvious the advantage derived from augmenting our own intelligence, knowledge, at a personal level -to become more competitive on the market (or just for self-esteem)- it is also evident the interest of a company to increase its own intelligence/knowledge and to harvest, effectively, the ones of their resources (humans and machines alike).

Here again a Cognitive Digital Twin, this one set up to mimic the company/organisation knowledge and intelligence, can become a tool that supports that organisation goals through an augmentation of its knowledge/intelligence. 

The organisation knowledge, intelligence, is  the combination of the ones embedded in its components:

  • human resources
  • machines (in a broad sense, including sw)
  • processes

In addition, the organisation may harvest, indirectly and -more and more- directly, the knowledge/intelligence of its suppliers, distributors and even of its customers/products-services users. Indirectly, since a good portion of the (relevant) knowledge of these constituencies can be derived from the interactions the organisation has with them, directly because, at least in some cases (growing over time) these constituencies will start sharing their knowledge to facilitate interactions and fruition of their “wares” or fruition of the organisation’s products/services (from the customer / user side).

Interestingly this knowledge that refers to the company boundary can be embedded in the company CDT or it can be construed in such a way to be embedded in a CDT mirroring, with respect to the company, that particular entity, e.g. a supplier, a customer. 

It might be the case (at least for a supplier, most unlikely for a customer, although in the 2050 timeframe the situation might be very different) that the external entity has its own CDT and it becomes possible to extend the company knowledge/intelligence, simply through the connection to the external entity CDT. As an example a supplier can embed in its own CDT its expertise and by making the connection to that supplier’s CDT a company’s CDT may “extend” its knowledge and intelligence (making use of the other CDT knowledge intelligence). Of course, in general, this augmentation is a service that will generate value and a corresponding fee to be used.

This is symmetrical, in the sense that a company’s CDT may also be used to deliver knowledge and intelligence of the company, as a service. This is represented in the graphic by the purple CDT that is an instance of the company CDT to deliver services (it may also be in the form of instances, each one delivering a set of services to a specific “customer”).

Notice how this way of using a CDT (and all the effort in creating and embedding it inside the company’s processes) is both a result of the Digital Transformation and a strong tool to foster the Digital Transformation.

What I described in terms of possible architecture for managing the augmentation through the external knowledge by either connecting to other CDTs outside the company boundary or mirroring the outside by embedding it inside the company’s CDT is also applicable to the internal knowledge provided by human resources and machines. Whilst for these latter in general it does not make a difference to embed the machine knowledge in the company’s CDT or leverage that knowledge through the interaction with the machine’s CDT (there are exception to this, when a machine is provided as a “service” by a third party: in this case the third party may enforce the separation of the machine’s CDT from the company’s CDT to keep control of the services being provided) in case of leveraging the knowledge of human resources the most appropriate architecture should be the one indicated in the graphic, where the worker’s CDT remains under her control and can be leveraged through interactions, thus ensuring the separation of ownership.

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.