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Aug 15, 2021
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Is It Possible to Build Digital Twins of Humans?

Digital Twins of humans or Digital Me is one of the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.  The term human digital twin may sound like a replica of the actual person. However, it's not the case. 

The human digital twin is the digital version, representing the actual person in real and virtual worlds. In other words, the human digital twin is the virtual identity or persona of the actual person. Not the person himself physically. 

How Do the Digital Twin of Humans Work?  

The human digital twin doesn't have access to the human mind or replicate the actual human being. You may be disappointed to hear this if you are an adventurer. The truth is you will not have a 3D model of your presence in the real world, just beside you. 

The human digital twin is the human model which is present in the cyber world as a database. The database will contain age, weight, sex, education, job, relatives, etc information about you. In addition, the database would also capture abstract human traits like behavior, emotions, and decision patterns.  

To sum it up, it is a digital description of the person stored in the computer, server, or cloud. 

The system will add new information to the records as updates about you come into cyberspace. It is important to remember that cyberspace gets your data through your communication on the Internet, 4G, 5G, WIFI, etc., technologies. However, it is not the only source. 

Mobile phones, hospitals, or other institutes obtain your information from time to time. Therefore, your new data will be transferred to cyberspace and stored accordingly. 

Your digital twin model will use complementary technologies like cloud computing and deep learning. The purpose is to provide you feedback information on your diagnoses, health issues, performance, or improvement at work.

Is It Possible to Build Digital Twins of Humans?

Similarities between Digital Twin (DT) and Human Digital Twin (HDT)  

We have mentioned in our earlier posts that Digital Twin builds a connection between the virtual and real world. This post explains that the Human Digital Twin is the digital description of the actual person in cyberspace. So, Digital Twin and Human Digital Twin aren't the same things. 

Despite this fact, there are some similarities between Human Digital Twin and Digital Twin.

1) Both need two-way communications: 

Both are digital models in the virtual environment of their actual product or person. Both will work when developers build a two-way communication path for them. 

Cyberspace needs information about the actual person or the product to analyze and determine predictions. The physical entity will need the projection from cyberspace to make improvements in the real world. 

So, the actual entity and digital replicas are mutually dependent on each other to function correctly. 

2) We need to build the models for both: 

It's a given point but worth mentioning. We need to build the virtual twins of both because DT and HDT are virtual models of the physical entity. The virtual models imitate the behaviors, emotions, functions, traits of the physical commodity. 

So, cyberspace cannot carry out many essential tasks like preparing analysis, summary, and judgment on the input data without the model. On the other hand, the physical entity or the system cannot receive valuable feedback or suggestions from cyberspace. 

3) Both share standard technologies: 

Human Digital Twin and Digital share the standard technologies as listed below: 

  • Cloud Server
  • Data Collection
  • Data Clustering Analysis 
  • Big Data
  •  Edge Computing, 
  • Deep Learning

We also need to ensure security technology for HDT and DT regarding privacy, reliability, and integrity.

Differences between Digital (Twin DT) and Human Digital Twin (HDT)

There's always been an ongoing debate going on humans vs. machines. Who is winning the race on intelligence, humans or machines? 

Raymond Kurzweil, an American author and Director of Engineering at Google, predicted that machines would achieve human-level intelligence by 2030. We have seen machines and AI doing some fantastic stuff, but humans are still ahead in the race. 

It is at this point where Digital Twin and Human Digital Twin differ from each other. 

Human beings are complex creatures –mentally, physically, and emotionally. So the developers have to detect a few things before building the digital twin of humans. 

They will need to use biosensors and brain-computer science to detect mental activities. For example, blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, hormone levels, and other data will trace mental activities. They will also need to gather data on the objective and subjective reactions based on psychological and human behavioral research. 

There are three main differences between the human digital twin and digital twin: 

1) Humans are complicated creatures, so it's challenging to build virtual twins in cyberspace. On the other hand, digital twins are more accessible to represent in cyberspace because these are just products or systems. 

2) Developers need excellent modeling, data analysis, and data fusion knowledge when building a human digital twin. They also need to focus on physiology, psychology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and other disciplines for HDT modeling.  In contrast, building digital twins are more uncomplicated as constructions depend on mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics, materials science, etc. 

3) We know more about the laws of physics, chemistry, mechanics, etc., so building DT is easier. In contrast, humans are so versatile that most human laws are statistical and not based on solid value. 

Surprising Ways Digital Twin of Humans can help

Creating Digital Personal Assistant

Digital Twin computing can help to expand the scope of human activity into cyberspace from the real world.  The digital twin is the person's digital description, yet it behaves like the actual person in cyberspace. Thus, the digital twin of humans is a great personal assistant in the virtual environment. 

The Digital Twin is the duplicate of the actual person, so it means that a person can work at multiple locations virtually at the same time. 

Creating a dialog with the deceased people: 

Surprisingly, Digital Twin can create dialogs with the dead person, which is impossible in the real world. Thus, we can gain knowledge and experience from the deceased person with the help of Digital Twin. 

Using Digital Twins to interface in cyberspace

It is possible to create a copied version of the human digital twin. Then, provide the clone of the digital twin with abilities and assets that you do not have.

For instance, you can provide the cloned digital twin with language skills you do not have by exchanging or merging with someone else's Digital Twin. 

Bidirectional Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) – the Future of Human Digital Twins 

BMIs can be an excellent example to understand the digital twins of humans. BMIs can alter or monitor the brain and build communication between human and machine interfaces. In addition, BMIs can be used for regular monitoring to pattern the brain's electrical activity without surgical invasion.

 For example, the BMI can tell you that you are inattentive at a specific task which is of great importance. Receiving an alert about your problem ahead of time can help you resolve it before the matter gets to a harmful level. 

The headband BMI can completely change the state of your mind interpreting the electrostimulation in your brain. As a result, experts expect that a growing number of professionals will use it to improve productivity. 

For instance, a BMI headband can apply current to the brain to change the grumpy mood or thrust attentiveness. 

The commercial use of BMI headbands in the future seems promising but also involves social and ethical concerns.  

Is It Possible to Build Digital Twins of Humans?

Conclusion

We have mentioned earlier that the Digital Twin of Humans is hard to build because humans are complex beings. 

The human digital twin has a bright future ahead. The rapid development of computing capacity, cheap intelligent devices, ample data storage, convenient data acquisition, and AI seems to make HDT modeling possible. With our growing ability with digital twin-enabled technology and understanding of ourselves, Human Digital Twin will be the next big thing of the future. 

At present, building a human digital twin may seem like a farfetched idea. However, with time passing by, it will become an achievable goal. Nevertheless, human Digital Twin has a long way to go because the complexity of humans makes modeling and massive data fusion analysis challenging. Moreover, the diversity of data sources, data variability, and heterogeneity are adding to the pressure. 

However, human digital twin development will face backlash from the people due to their worries about safety and privacy. 

It's not a surprise that The European Union and other institutions are trying to impose stricter GDPR and ePrivacy rules. However, the central institutions are aware of the possible threats and trying to keep them under a limit. 

To build successful Digital Twins of humans, we will need to improve our abilities in various fields of research and technology. These fields include social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, applied chemistry, and interdisciplinary. 

We will also need to review other aspects like ethical issues, the reliability of simulation outcomes, and privacy protection if we are using human digital twins seriously. 

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