Responsible design and use of Digital Twins in the life sciences.

Digital Twins are an emerging technology that are now applied in different domains, including agriculture and life sciences. As digital technologies, Digital Twins raise social and ethical issues, such as algorithmic biases, epistemological and normative concerns such as inconclusive evidence or unfair outcomes, or issues related to the ownership of the data generated by the Digital Twin.

Furthermore, the fact that Digital Twins in the life sciences represent living organisms and socio-ecological systems requires that this particular context is considered in Digital Twin development in general, and in the way Digital Twins may affect our relation to the environment, to animals, and to our bodies in particular.

The aim of this project is two-fold: (1) to provide an in-depth analysis as of the values, assumptions, and bias materialised in Digital Twin technology and the social and ethical implications thereof, and (2) to provide a roadmap for responsible design of Digital Twins in the life sciences.

Building on insights in the field of philosophy of technology, ethics, responsible innovation, critical data studies, and value sensitive design, I will develop a roadmap for the responsible design of digital twins for the life sciences.

‘Future research’
My follow-up project focuses on what affordances AI-driven Digital Twins in the life sciences should ideally have in order to be "human-centred" in a meaningful way. This project will connect to the NWO-funded ELSA (ethical, legal, and social aspects) Lab for AI for sustainable food systems of Wageningen University and Research.


  1. Korenhof, P., Blok, V., & Kloppenburg, S. (2021). Steering representations—Towards a critical understanding of digital twins. Philosophy & Technology, 34(4), 1751-1773.
  2. Kloppenburg, S., Gupta, A., Kruk, S. R., Makris, S., Bergsvik, R., Korenhof, P., ... & Toonen, H. M. (2022). Scrutinizing environmental governance in a digital age: New ways of seeing, participating, and intervening. One Earth, 5(3), 232-241.