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Don’t I know you from somewhere? Introducing your digital doppelganger

Jenny Beresford | July 17, 2017
'Digital twins' are being used for trains, planes and automobiles so why not humans?

The usual ‘big brother’ issues come into play. What if governments, employers, insurers, partners and so on have access to your digital doppelgänger? What if it’s used to access your passport or bank accounts?

Who would you trust to buy the digital doppelgänger service or product from – government or private sector operators? Who would you trust to hold the Swiss bank account or cyber-vault for your digital self?

Pricing is interesting, and would probably need to be high to underpin the security and analytics required. If it weren’t priced at the ‘high-end,’ then you should assume that’s because your data is going to be monetised in other ways, which undermines the degree of confidence you could have in the vendor assuring privacy and control of your digital doppelgänger data.

On the other hand, in this emerging digital world, there are naïve consumers who would probably sign up to have a digital doppelgänger without understanding a basic economic principle: ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ And that’s worrying. What will it cost for the lifetime service? Is this like life insurance or medical cover; something you have from life to death?

The digital doppelgänger falls into the valuable sensitive personal service range, akin to cryogenics or the lifetime medical record. The scenarios for consideration are even broader – can you place it into a virtual community, to interact on your behalf with other digital doppelgängers?

Then there’s the philosophical dilemma: ‘how real is my digital doppelgänger and is it more ‘real’ than me?’


Will you be a fast mover?

Much of the data needed to conceive your first digital doppelgänger is probably ‘up there’ in the ‘internet cloud’ already, and it grows every time we act in the digital world – buy, sell, inquire, search, upload a selfie, etc.

As soon as a digital doppelgänger is offered to the market, there will inevitably be a fast take-up from technology first movers. The idea of 10 million digital doppelgängers by 2020 is only constrained today by the (un)availability of the service.


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