Digital twin AI: great invention or threat in disguise?

Group 7

Introduction

Digital twin AI is a digital representation of a physical object or system which inputs real data about the physical object or system and produces predictions or simulations about how the physical object or system will be influenced by these inputs as output.

Nowadays, many industrial companies are adopting this technology to increase efficiency and accuracy, and more companies might join in in the future. However, many are concerned about privacy, workers displaced and other issues from this technology. The question lies, is this technology trustworthy?

Digital twin AI and its benefits.

From a utilitarianism point of view, digital twin AI will benefit the majority of people for the greater good as it provides engineers and product manufacturers with new possibilities to develop a final result and design with higher accuracy and level of complexity. For instance, a manufacturing company will be able to make better predictions for when a specific component or part of a machine will need replacement or adjustment using digital twin AI. Therefore, any costly and unforeseen production downtime can be easily avoided with plenty of prior planification for repair and maintenance (Digital Twin Technology Benefits and Challenges, 2021). Overall implementing digital twin ai into various industries will help in the development of society as the better technology will provide better healthcare and better service to customers. 

The duty ethics emphasizes heavily on following rules and doing the right thing. which is in line with digital twin AI, as its goal is accordingly performing a number of tasks and virtual tests. The use of this technology in the healthcare industry could prove to be useful. As it will increase the efficiency of treating patients in a more equal manner. By using the numerous accessible data about all the different diseases, digital twin AI could help in personalising treatments to each unique patient. Overall, this will help doctors provide a more precise treatment and avoid any misdiagnosis (Björnsson 2019).

Doctors can simulate surgery by creating a virtual copy of patients based on data sources (diseases registries, wearable sensors, electronic health record, etc.) and practice to perfect it. Virtue ethics in the medical field is ‘excellence-orientated’ and based on how the personal virtue displayed by care-workers in their work may promote for the patient’s benefit to the greatest extent feasible (Ben Kotzee 2017). Adopting this technology is a virtuous behaviour as one seeks for the best possible actions to help others. It grants care-workers to practice moral virtue like service and good judgment.

The relationship between doctors and patients can improve as patients might have feelings of personal intrusion, discomfort or embarrassment when talking about their syndrome to the doctor of opposite gender. A survey showed close to two-thirds of the women are anxious about the gender of their gynecologist (Cornforth 2019). With digital twin AI, diagnosis can be done electronically with data sources to eliminate any unpleasant conversation. From a care ethics perspective, digital twin AI is able to break the barrier between patients and doctors as patients are more willing to visit doctors when they are feeling ill and able to receive immediate treatment.

Is digital twin AI worth the risk?

Using digital twin AI can drastically cut down cost in labour and improve efficiency. However, what we cannot ignore is that digital twins will replace people’s jobs in some industries. For example, traders are replaced by algorithms and if someone manipulates the algorithm in financial services, it might cause unimaginable economic losses (Kawalec 2019). From the act of utilitarianism theory, digital twins AI reduces cost which promotes pleasure to financial service companies but promotes pain at the same time, as implementing digital twins causes them to lose their job. In this case, does this technology maintain the greatest utility?

Last year, students in England did not have exams due to the coronavirus but they were given A-level grades by the official exam regulator, Ofqual, through the algorithm which considers the students’ grades in each subject in the past years, rankings, and estimated grades. However, it turned out that 36 per cent of students’ grades were lower than the teacher’s recommendation. (‘A-Levels and GCSEs: How Did the Exam Algorithm Work?’ 2020). This is not fair because the past result is not the true representation of the current state as students are different every year. By normative judgement, the algorithm fails to perform its duty to truly identify every student’s ability and is biased toward some parties. It is also unreasonable and dangerous for a society that values ​​an individual’s creativity and achievement to follow the logic of the averaging society. 

With the emergence of digital twin AI technology, the scale of data leakage will increase dramatically compared to the past. Forecasts indicate that 75 per cent of digital twins AI will be integrated with at least five endpoints by 2023 (’Digital Twin Technology Benefits and Challenges‘ 2021). Every time a new connection is established and there is more data flow between the device and the cloud, which means that if companies are not aware of the increasing potential hazards of data encryption and access privileges, the criminal (hackers) may be able to capture sensitive data. This is a challenge for privacy protection in the era of Big Data. No one knows whether, as time goes by, a shift towards virtue ethics strengthens privacy protection?

Overdependence on this technology will reduce the operation skills of doctors because digital twin AI surgery simulation can have multiple tries but in real surgery, doctors have only one attempt. Doctors will have a false sense of security that the process can be restarted when doing the actual surgery. Therefore, doctors lose empathy towards patients as they become ‘numb’ and reckless in surgery. On the care ethical level, this sort of behaviour of doctors does not have a positive influence on patients and even badly impacts the health and life of patients. The relationship between patients and doctors might become strained.

Initial Decision

From the above point of view, we believe that digital twin AI is worth the risk.

References

Bernard Marr – ’7 Amazing Examples of Digital Twin Technology In Practice’ – Apr 23, 2019

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/04/23/7-amazing-examples-of-digital-twin-technology-in-practice/?sh=347fba06443b

Andrzej Kawalec – ’How to Protect Your Digital Twin’ – Oct 21, 2019,

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/10/21/how-to-protect-your-digital-twin/?sh=633d17941625

’A-levels and GCSEs: How did the exam algorithm work?’ 20 August 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53807730

‘Digital Twin Technology Benefits and Challenges’. 2021. Accessed March 24. https://www.identitymanagementinstitute.org/digital-twin-technology-benefits-and-challenges/

Cornforth, Tracee. 2019. ‘Are You Afraid to Go to The Gynecologist?’. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/gynecologist-anxiety-and-fear-3520757


Björnsson, B., Borrebaeck, C., Elander, N. et al. 2019, Digital twins to personalize medicine. Genome Med

https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-019-0701-3

4 thoughts on “Digital twin AI: great invention or threat in disguise?

  1. Opening statement. I’m not fully clear on what the dilemma is. The problem is reasonably clear.
    I think what is needed is a sentence that says what the drawbacks are. You say that workers will be displaced – how? What privacy issues exist?

    Arguments for: Good/Excellent use of ethical theories. Reading this section, it looks like the range of applications for digital twins is vast. This is, perhaps, why it was difficult to get a sense of the dilemma in your opening paragraph. Planification? Planning.

    Arguments against: reasonable use of ethical theories. For Assignment Two, make your mentions of the ethical theories clearer, please?
    Also, I noticed that the range of applications went from digital twins to computer algorithms to Big Data. Can you focus in on the main topic, please?

    Advice for Assignment Two
    I think the main issue for Assignment Two is that you are clearer on the main dilemma. This will then allow you to identify the stakeholders and then establish the Options for Action (although win-win looks to the main one).

    Try and drum up more comments. I’m perfectly OK with you striking deals – whereby you comment on other articles and they comment on yours.

  2. Digital twin can definitely improve our living standards and save more lives. However, many measures have to be taken to prevent it to be used in a non-ethical manner. Or else, it will harm more to our society.

  3. With the aid of digital twin Al, productivity in many fields can surely be increased thanks to its ability of analysing huge and complex data. It could be very useful for example in some power plants, it is used to analyse and present options for the operators to choose. However over relying on it could lead to backward progression of humankind because all work are done by this AI. Ethical problem would rise since it is limiting people’s choice by suggesting a “best” solution. In short, the main issue here is in what extent will this technology replace human in the future.

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