Human Digital Twins and Evolution: The Real Westworld?

Last week, I wrote about a new company – Merlin – that sells an early human digital twin tool. I’ve been thinking about digital twins ever since – and how this kind of tool could become the next killer productivity application.

When tools that enhance experience are initially created, they mimic what came before. The first cars looked like horse-drawn carriages without horses and were even called horseless cars. Cars have evolved and no longer look like those original examples. I hope the digital twins will evolve into something very different than they seem today.

Let’s think about how human digital twins can develop and how HBO’s dystopian “Westworld” could prove to be prophetic. (Season 4 of the show premieres tomorrow.)

The evolution of the human digital twin

At the moment, there is a lot of controversy about a Google researcher who said that he believes that the latest Google conversational AI has gained a feel. Although I doubt it, I question whether it is important. If we believe that something is sensitive and that it works sensitively, then perhaps we should consider it sensitive – if only to interact. “Westworld” has robots that mimic (and behave like) humans and animals. And if humans forget to take their living things as seriously, they end up like robots dead (although they can be recreated).

The expected end point for the evolution of a human digital twin would be a full-on, inseparable copy that has all the skills (and almost all the memory and personality traits that can be expressed through observation and direct data input). They will be digitally constructed with unique advantages and disadvantages compared to the ones copied.

The disadvantages are that, at least initially, they can only exist in metavars. The benefits will be they don’t have human weaknesses, unless they are programmed for them. They don’t need sleep, can be trained in computer speed, can seriously do multi-tasks (given they are a computerized construction), can turn emotions on and off, and they only need energy and a digital world where work can be done.

They are not sick or tired. They are not angry or violent. They don’t need money, so they don’t have to raise it. Problems such as mental health problems or poor emotion control can be identified and programmed, so they will not need a psychiatrist.

Now, imagine an entire section of yours. Each of your human digital twins receives digital training for his position and your work becomes their management, which gives you a big increase in productivity. For example, instead of 30 accountants, the company has one that comes with 29 human digital twins. Or a CMO may have digital twins who had CMO skills but are drawn to the background from China, the EU and other parts of the world, providing distributed marketing experts who can be effective anywhere. This virtual team will not only be effective in coordinating a campaign across different geographic regions, but can continuously inform the need for product changes to better fit the remote market.

Last game

Although human digital twins will primarily complement employees, over time, companies providing these tools will probably realize that the concept can do more to enhance efficiency in completely different fields. (Human digital twins can be replicated and programmed to use training sets from other people.) Eventually it will be possible to create fully staffed organizations by human digital twins based on a single founder or additional acquiring employee.

And it may not be employed by just one company. For example, think about how valuable the human digital twins of Bill Gates or Elon Musk could be, or the human digital twins of a leading computer scientist or especially a computer scientist who was an MDO? The ability to mix and match skill sets can lead to a unique blend of skills and equally unique offers for a new market. And as we explore outer space, wouldn’t it be safe to supplement or replace astronauts with digital twins who could be instantly trained on the skills needed for Mars colonies?

After all, can’t your digital twin just take directions and then fill out a form, write a report, or even write a book based on your ideas – you don’t have to do anything more than come up with an initial outline?

I don’t think we’re starting to consider what the future holds for human digital twins, but it would be a small thing to call them disruptive. They can go so far beyond the idea of ​​a “killer app” that they will change forever and move the idea forward. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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