In essence, Digital Twins are virtual, digital equivalents of physical objects. A digital twin contains all information about the physical object and is linked with that physical object through the entire lifecycle of the system. Technology such as sensors is used to gather data about the object. For example for a digital twin of a fridge, this can be the temperature inside, its power use, and even information about the contents of the fridge. The internet is used to upload the information from the physical fridge to its digital twin. Information such as this can help to improve household appliances, monitor power use. And perhaps, it can even tell you if you have run out of olives.
The use of digital twins can improve the world in many ways. In farming, it allows to monitor crops with technology, decreasing the workload of farmers. In industries, digital twins allow product assembly to be monitored more closely. It also helps to follow and improve the lifecycle of products. In health care, digital twins can provide doctors with information about their patients. The technology of digital twins allows for the innovation of services and products. It can help to make things better, easier and cheaper.
Today, digital twin technology is possible because of the integration of various digital solutions including internet of things, big data, cloud computing, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence. With the introduction digital solutions also non-technical concerns need to be considered and questions need to be answered. Can we create digital twin for each physical object? What can be represented, what not, and why? What are the ethical and legal aspects? How will it impact the social relations? Digital twins can impact many of the fields that the social sciences study. Important too is to think about the questions that can be asked – but that are not being asked yet.
On the 5th of November, a seminar is being held on Digital Twins. Bedir Tekinerdogan, chair holder of the Information Technology group, will lecture us on the subject of digital twins. Besides that, he will lead us in a discussion. The topic of the discussion is which questions the social sciences can ask, with regards to digital twins. The seminar start at 12.00. For those who visit the seminar in person, a lunch is provided. Please contact Laura de Graaf to register for the seminar in person.