A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical process, product or service increasingly used in industry. Fjord’s Trends 2020 notes that digital twins have recently begun moving into new spheres. Their potential is being recognized in a range of other areas, including financial services (FS), healthcare and the workplace.

For FS, digital twins have commercial application, assisting engagement with customers, as well as internal application—advancing talent and organization (T&O) objectives.

Speak to my digital double

Social media is awash with digital selves, where it’s become the norm for people to interact via synthetic or filtered versions of themselves for privacy reasons, explains Fjord. For example, in gaming, a growing number of female players are using “voice skins” that distort their voices to avoid harassment. Use of digital twins by industry and business to deliver more accurate, intelligent and engaging interactions is also growing. In life sciences, digital twins will eventually be used to project, predict or validate the outcomes of medications, operations and lifestyle choices. The Living Heart Project is exploring what we could achieve if medical devices could be designed and safely tested virtually before being tested in the real world.

Industry is using digital twins to deliver more accurate, intelligent and engaging interactions.

Digital twinning is delivering value in the FS arena too.

Digital twin advantages for FS

Take the AI-driven financial services bot, the automated virtual assistant that helps online customers buy or use a product—with data input from thousands of customer interactions, the automated digital twin bot could handle live chat conversations with ease. And customer service is not the only area in which digital twins can deliver value for FS. Simulation technology for banking service security offers the ability to create simulations that would create virtual cyberattack scenarios the AI could learn from.Internally, digital identities can catalyse digital HR strategies. The employee digital double, combined with artificial intelligence and aligned with HR, talent and business strategies can help maximize business and employee performance, optimise the employee experience (EX), and ultimately improve service levels and competitiveness.

Done wrong, use of digital doubles can result in negative outcomes, however.

The dark side of twinning

Modeling agency The Diigitals only represents synthetic models, including Shudu and Galaxia.

Today, companies collect and use data generated as a by-product of individuals’ online activity to construct a digital double. The resulting construct can impact access to opportunities, such as products, loans or insurance. It raises issues of privacy, security, fairness. Similarly, in the FS T&O arena, use of data that does not provide a full or faithful reflection of an employee can be damaging. Employees may have different digital personas and the organization needs to acknowledge this. For talent management purposes, an accurate digital representation of the person must be defined.

In leveraging digital twins, a balance needs to be struck. As the workforce becomes increasingly distributed and remote, over-reliance on interaction with digital doubles can result in employers losing touch with the workforce. Encouraging employees to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work will help drive better engagement.
Digital doubles, owned by individuals, will help re-write the current company-generated models, however.

In the near future, people will command their own digital doubles—gatekeepers of their digital selves.

In the near future, says Fjord, we can expect people to start designing and controlling their own ecosystems, ruled by algorithms they own that serve their best interests, not those of companies. Their digital doubles could combine their data, context and aggregated external information, doing all the work with companies and pulling back to the user the best solutions for them. They will become the gatekeepers of our digital lives.

This will change how FS providers engage—no longer directly with customers, but with their digital doubles… which the customer controls. The same is likely to apply to engagement with employees’ digital doubles.

Join me next week as I explore two other Fjord 2020 trends: Liquid People and Life-centered Design.

Meantime, click here for more on Fjord’s 2020 Trends.

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