The ‘Digital Twin‘ – Much more than a replica!

The proposed project aims to creatively and critically engage with the metaphor of the ‘digital twin’ which is presently hyped as an expression of artificial intelligence. By now, digital twins have mostly been deployed in industrial production. As variety of intelligent tele-care, they are also envisioned to enhance the monitoring of human health conditions in the future.

In engineering science, the ‘digital twin’ is predominantly depicted as replica, which –due to continuous technical development– approximates progressively with the ‘original’. The social sciences have highlighted in various ways, however, that ‘digital worlds’ are not solely representational spaces but integral parts of our ‘reality’ – with performative, and accordingly, transformational powers.

Despite of the current reductionist deployment of the metaphor of the digital twin, I do not argue for dismissing it all along. Rather, I would like to call for a more extensive exploration of its potential for our understanding of digital representation, –of data ‘about us’ and ‘our worlds’–, and the possibilities and limits in dealing with it. To do so, a radically interdisciplinary approach is envisaged: A provocation of the discourse about ‘digital twins’ and ‘data doubles’ with (human) twin studies and the various types of twins and twin-relations they have been outlining.

Judith Igelsböck
Phone: +49 89 289 29232

Project leader(s):
Judith Igelsböck

July 2021 to July 2023

Funding institution: