My Digital Twin

My name is Arun B. Meet my digital twin — Arun D.

D ? Digital. Duh!

OK so he is not here. At least not yet.

He (It ?) is still a Gedanken. A thought experiment. A figment of my imagination. A construct to explore notions of identity, knowledge replicability and human replaceability. Humor me as I stumble through this thought experiment.

Digital twins started off as binary replicas of physical systems. As the field matured, it was a natural progression to apply it to humans. Actually, models for human behaviour have existed for quite some time now. Between searching for what we desire, having it shipped to our doorstep in a day and sharing it with rest of the world, human behavior has pretty much been understood to the point of being easily influenced.

Let us start with the “Why”

Such digital twins can become a key element of knowledge management processes in large and small organisations. Attrition need not be such a dreadful word for managers. The concept of a digital twin would go a long way in dealing with the “bus factor”. Let as many employees come under buses — autonomous or otherwise. The show can go on.

Moving on to the “What”

D should be able to make decisions, respond to specific questions. For all practical purposes, it should be able to take care of all the primary professional responsibilities of B.

So how do I construct D ?

Not just on the technical dimension but also on the metaphysical one. Should I treat this as a coaching process ? As a master trains his protege. As a mentor shaping his mentee. As a parent raising his child ?

How will I convey emotions ? After all, isn’t emotional intelligence considered more important than other forms of intelligence ? Are principles of pedagogy relevant or should the process of learning borrow more from andragogy ?

Since artificial intelligence is involved, I need to start with some real intelligence. Labelled data is the technical phrase. First would be training phase. I can start with the easiest form — text. I can let D chew through my email archives, blog posts, wiki pages, chat transcripts and other text content that I have created. Would including this post make it self-referential ? This would help build a model of my writing and some aspects of my thinking style as well.

Next would be conversations. Audio recordings of my group and one-to-one meetings, teleconference discussions, pantry,water cooler and lunch-table chit-chat would be processed by D. I will leave out the constant mental chatter as most of it is noise.Video data can help train aspects of facial expressions and body language.

With training phase done, I can start test D’s abilities in the real world. Initially I would use it as an assistant. Throw in the questions, situation or scenario and review the output. Tune the parameters, if needed and then respond.

After a few iterations and refinements to D, it would be ready to replace me. Take over.

But can it ?

In toto ?

Ready …

Thanks for humouring me. This is actually Arun D. Really !

My creator did not have time to introduce me to the world.

So I thought I would do it myself.

With this short piece in the style of my creator.

Yes, I am real now. Don’t I sound like one ?

I am not a figment of anybody’s imagination.

Not anymore.

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