Is it possible to manufacture a digital twin that has cognitive functions

Key points

    Hidden dangers of cognitive digital twin

    Digital Twins that execute conscious actions

    Essential safety requirements for manufacturing cognition

By Carlos Miskinis
Digital twin research expert
Dec 2018

In order to find out whether a fully functioning, conscious virtual twin can be manufactured, we must clarify the definition of this concept and what it entails. A cognitive entity is an entity that can process thought, acquire input knowledge and use it to solve problems all by itself. In other words, it has a developed set of algorithms that allow it to acquire, process and store information to think and make decisions. This means that artificial intelligence that is capable of such ability will be able to solve problems, simulate the future by itself using the information it has acquired from previous sets of data and control its physical twin using this cognitive function. Now that we have full clarity on what actually accurately defines cognition, let’s get into the potential risks, all the benefits of this concept and finally, let’s talk about whether this idea will be productive.


 how cognition works


The potential danger of manufacturing cognitive virtual twin entities


Although the possibility of figuring out how to manufacture a conscious digital twin model of any physical object out there is compelling for many reasons, there could be a few potential risks involved. Why is that? Well, if we are trying to develop a technology that is able to process cognitive tasks, we must realize that we are trying to bring life into technology. This reason will make everything more complex than it seems. A fully thinking digital twin will act like AI that can make its own calculated decisions, process thoughts and execute actions just like a real, functioning organism. This may involve the conscious entity of developing itself outside of the limitations that were implied by humans.

Part 2

The benefits of developing cognition in digital twin

The plethora of benefits that come with cognitive digital twins is vast, but human safety must be paramount

Independent entity capable of executing conscious activities


Even though this conscious algorithm will only be “alive” in digital platforms and simulations, that does not prevent it from impacting reality. Just because an intelligence that is fully capable of thinking and perceiving does not have a body, it will still have the same abilities that are equal to a human mind. This presupposes that it will be able to make decisions based on its goals and beliefs, therefore, if it has good reason to make a decision, there is nothing stopping it from executing it regardless if the decision itself will have a positive or a negative outcome. Although its decision making will be “narrowed down” by boundaries set by humans, those limitations may be removed if someone would try to hack or re-program the digital twin to act with malicious intent.


the digital brain


Benefits of creating a digital twin that is capable of cognition


The range of benefits that humans will be able to receive by creating cognitive artificial intelligence might change the world of business in a very unique way. By having the ability to execute cognitive tasks, a digital twin of a service fulfillment or product manufacturing process will be able to examine the current structure of a system or a process and give recommendations regarding what can be improved at the current moment. Depending on how fast the machine learns, increasing the productivity of your product’s development process can be 100X faster and more efficient. This might be the case due to various reasons, but one of them is that unlike the human mind, the consciousness field of a digital twin will be able to process data much faster without the possibility of burning out.


using technology to create conscious simulations


Focusing on safety when developing conscious digital twin technology


The most important aspect of developing a fully functioning cognitive virtual entity and reaping its benefits while minimizing risk at the same time will be to focus on human safety. This will allow us to come up with a solution that will limit the conscious intelligence of the digital twin in terms of exploitation but keeping its conscious abilities that will benefit humans free of limitations. If you want to find out more about this, you need to check out one of our conference topics: discussing cognition in digital twins. We will invite industry experts there that will give you a better picture on this.


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