Trusted friends. Assurance, authority and agency

In this episode of our Digital Twin blog series, Peter van Manen and Mark Stevens discuss how Digital Twins can help you cope with uncertainty, by removing some of the anxiety of change.

The future depends on what you do today.

Mahatma Gandhi

When there are choices, making decisions is hard. These decisions lead to different actions and outcomes, sometimes almost immediately and sometimes much later. Oftentimes with great uncertainty. Digital Twins can tell you what is likely to happen following different interventions, removing some of the anxiety of change.

The evolution of many Digital Twins follow a predictable path. We begin by showing up parts of a system which are of interest, but difficult to see. We then combine and analyse data to inform people what has happened before and is starting to happen now. The next step is operating in real time and predicting what might happen next. And then we start using the Digital Twin to prescribe some of the interventions. Ultimately, when we are convinced of the reliability and worth of these prescriptions, we may trust the Digital Twins to make interventions autonomously. A mature Digital Twin has the following key attributes:

►  Assurance. Knowing that it reflects the real thing adequately and consistently. 

►  Authority. Defining boundaries within which the Digital Twin operates reliably.

►  Agency. Allowing it to prescribe or initiate interventions within these boundaries.

The essence is trust. And this starts with openness, quality and security. Openness comes with accessible data, purposeful algorithms and intuitive metrics. Quality comes from trusted data, practical error checking and sanity-checked inputs and outputs. Security comes by protecting the Digital Twin from unauthorised access and manipulation. 

Trusted friends are folk with whom we have shared experiences and memories. Both good and bad, happy and sad. The good memories give us happiness and hope. The bad experiences add wisdom and tenacity. Trust in a Digital Twin comes when you start seeing for yourself the truthful and often beneficial outcomes of heeding its advice and guidance.

Hand painted with smiles

Read the previous blog in this series, 'Time and space. The relativity of structure, behaviour and value' here, and read the next episode, 'A puppy isn’t just for Christmas. Long-term value' here.

Peter van Manen, Mark Stevens

(C) Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd, 2021

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