Artificial Intelligence

AI Twins: Bridging the physical and digital worlds

What is a digital twin?

AI digital replicas, or digital twins, are highly accurate virtual models of physical entities. They simulate, predict, and optimise the performance of their real-world versions. These digital twins are already being used across various industries, and they hold the potential to revolutionise our daily lives. 

What are they being used for? 

FaceTiming celebrities

Twyn, founded by Tim Levy, uses AI replicas to give people the experience of engaging in a FaceTime call with their favourite celebrity. The technology uniquely combines AI with natural language processing. The platform utilises an extensive archive of pre-recorded content slices of celebrities which then uses machine learning to allow audio and visual content to be delivered in real time to users. Two-way interaction via voice recognition makes the conversation feel natural. The platform’s flagship celebrity partnership is with Lionel Messi, with whom users will be able to interact in the Messi app. 

Disney Magic

Walt Disney Studios has collaborated with Accenture to create a digital twin of Disney Studios’ StudioLab facility to enable remote collaboration and virtual tours of the 500-square-foot facility. They are also using virtual twins of potential shooting locations for films, enabling creatives to work together on and around a potential location without anyone having to be there in person. 

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts also use digital twins to manage their theme parks, including crowd flow, ride operations, and maintenance schedules.  

Spacecraft models

NASA is using digital twins to ensure the safety and reliability of its spacecraft. By creating detailed virtual models of spacecraft systems, engineers can run simulations to predict and address potential issues before they occur in the physical environment. 

Urban planning

Singapore has developed a digital twin of the entire city. This virtual model helps urban planners simulate and analyse the impact of new developments, optimise traffic flow, and manage utilities more effectively. Digital twins democratise advanced urban planning, allowing people to easily try out new ideas without having to hire a design team.  

Verdict reports that the UK is also following suit to implement digital twins to improve decision-making, enhance efficiency and foster a new era of sustainable development. 

Ethical concerns


Urban planning enhanced by the use of digital twins means that residents’ movements and behaviour may be monitored. This is a potential ethical issue that will concern people, as it could lead to the misuse of personal data. 

Cybersecurity threats

Digital twins rely on interconnected systems and vast amounts of data, making them potential cyberattack targets. A breach in a digital twin system could lead to unauthorised access to sensitive data or control over physical assets, such as infrastructure or vehicles. 

Job loss

The implementation of digital twins can lead to automation, which could potentially result in the displacement of workers. Addressing the social and economic impacts on employees who may lose their jobs or require retraining is necessary. 

There has been pushback in the film industry by creatives who fear AI and digital replica technology could threaten their jobs. Entrepreneur Tim Levy, however, argues that AI can be used productively and responsibly in the industry as long as guardrails are involved to ensure it enhances human talent rather than replacing it. 

Looking to the Future

With AI replica technology developing rapidly, digital twins of people will likely be used beyond digital replicas of celebrities for entertainment purposes. Healthcare and education are likely to be revolutionised by using digital twins of humans, which can provide personalised teaching and care. 

The future of AI twins holds immense promise for transforming industries, enhancing the quality of life, and addressing global challenges through innovative, data-driven solutions. 

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