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Quantfury Daily Gazette

🖥️Technology

Would you have a digital twin?

by
Miguel F contributor

We live in a time where industrial competition is overwhelming. Companies must plan their production processes to the maximum since a single wrong step can lead to a loss of customers, reputation and reliability and even be displaced from the market by the advance of its competitors. One of the technologies that have gained ground in recent years in terms of the production and development of products and services is the creation of “digital twins.” 

These twins are nothing more than a digital replica of a product or service belonging to the physical world, a simulation that mimics the original down to the smallest detail. Through the collection and classification of information by data scientists, coupled with the increasingly frequent intervention of AI, it is possible to obtain an exact digital replica of, for example, the engine of a racing car or even go further and simulate an entire city, as the State of Singapore is already doing and the city of London is planning to do, to solve problems such as pollution, transport congestion and energy efficiency.

The applications of this technology are truly infinite since it allows the detection and correction of manufacturing defects before a product reaches the market, as well as the optimization of the production process in the factory and the correction of a specific problem when a product has already been developed. Companies such as Siemens (BATS EU: SIE) or the logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group (BATS EU: DPW) are already using this technology, having created “Digital Twins” in some of their production plants. In this way, thanks to the implementation of various IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, the “real” and “digital” versions are in constant feedback in real-time, which means that the information entered in either version is automatically assimilated by the other.

In the case of Siemens, its digital twin in manufacturing, it leverages the intelligence of the interconnected machines in the production plant. In this way, the entire production is organized and executed efficiently, thus giving way to the so-called “Industry 4.0 Technology”. On the company’s official website, we can register for a webinar to see a practical example of a production process carried out with this technology.

In the case of Deutsche Post DHL Group (BATS EU: DPW), this technology has a wide variety of applications along the entire logistics value chain. It brings improvements to container fleet management and shipment monitoring. In addition to providing the location of a particular package at any given moment, information can be obtained on any damage it may suffer during transport in order to anticipate problems that may arise from the receipt of a defective package.

So far, we are talking about creating duplicates of objects or services, but as we know, science and technology are always looking to go a little further, and that is how we have already started to talk about the digital twins of human beings. Although at first, it may seem laughable, it is not so much when we think, for example, of the progress of metaverses: wouldn’t it be more practical and efficient for a digital version of ourselves to inhabit the digital world instead of a simple avatar that, despite our efforts, will not represent us in all aspects?

If we make an analogy with cinema, Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) movie Tron Legacy shows us how the protagonist Kevin Flynn embarks on the creation of a digital world, and not having the time necessary to carry out the feat, creates a digital twin of himself to inhabit that world and continue building it from the inside.

Let us imagine for a moment the infinite possibilities of a human being and his digital twin working at the same time on a certain goal. Everything that one version learns is automatically assimilated by the other. The boundary between the two worlds would become increasingly blurred, and new challenges would arise that we cannot even imagine today. In the field of health, we could act early or even predict the onset of pathologies or diseases that affect our bodies. We could even simulate the different ways to combat them thanks to our digital twin and thus know how to act accordingly.

The development of this technology in human beings may still seem far away, but let us not forget that we have developed technologies that seemed impossible in just one or two decades. The truth is that beyond the technological scope, humanity still has a pending agenda for debate, and it is the one that will put on the table the ethical and moral implications and the discussion of new regulatory laws on everything that is to come. 

Suddenly we find ourselves living in a world that we only thought possible in science fiction stories, and we still have to debate how to deal with AI, Cyborgs, robots, digital twins, metaverses and everything that derives from technological advances and involves the modification of the physical and mental aspects of human beings. We have not yet defined whether that “digital frontier” referred to by Kevin Flynn in Tron should be accessible to cross on foot or whether it should be in the most remote confines to prevent its free circulation.

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