Commentary: Could breeding a 'digital twin' save our 'dying' cities?: Page 2 of 2

Thu, 2018-03-01 12:47 -- SCC Partner

Sibling rivalry
The power of a digital twin city will be in how it strategically uses technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data. Feeding the sibling will be multiple streams of data, both historical and in real time.

Those cities that are able to leverage this technology and harness the benefits will be the communities and cities that prosper ‒ they will become more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

But are we really ready? The sibling could well become an intelligent counterpart ‒ trying to compete or to even make decisions for us. And, as with all ‘operating rooms’ where we monitor, diagnose and treat the sick – we’ll need skilled doctors. Will they be real or virtual? And, are we ready for them to alter the DNA of our cities… what ethical framework will these doctors use?

Enabling these ‘digital twins’ will involve the labour pains of ensuring our governance, as well as ethical structures, are ‘birth-ready’. There’s also the question of “Who owns the data?” – the government, the private sector, the digital twin platform, the autonomous vehicle that creates the data, or the citizen who is feeding data into the twin model?

It will also be crucial to ensure the accelerating pace of technology does not move faster than our ability to understand the consequences and plan how best to use digital twins for the benefit of all. If we can do that, we may just be able to create our own 'saviour city'.

This article was written by Jacob Lindsay and Matt Coetzee and appeared in