Responsible Design of Digital Twins

Project: PostDoc

Project Details


Our vision on responsibility in relation to Digital Twins is that DTs as emerging technologies need early engagement of societal actors and innovators in order to assess the societal desirability, ethical acceptability and sustainability of this technology. At the same time, we believe that DTs as representations of (desirable) futures (e.g. sustainable farming or healthier lifestyles) can be used as a tool for responsible innovation in the life sciences.
In order for DTs to function as such a tool, it is important to 1) consider the social and ethical aspects of the DT technology itself; 2) develop a methodology to consider the social and ethical parameters that are seen as important by both engineers, societal actors and future users, and to involve these actors in the assessment and evaluation and the decision-making process regarding the development of design requirements of digital twins.
As digital technologies, DTs raise social and ethical issues, such as algorithmic biases, epistemological and normative concerns such as inconclusive evidence or unfair outcomes, or issues related to the ownership of the data generated by the DT. Furthermore, the fact that DTs in the life sciences represent living organisms and socio-ecological systems requires that this particular context is considered in DT development in general, and in the way DTs may affect our relation to the environment, to animals, and to our bodies in particular.
Building on state of the art insights in the field of ethics of technology, responsible innovation and value sensitive design on the one hand, and qualitative interviews with stakeholders on the other, our project will develop a roadmap for the responsible design of digital twins for the life sciences. It results in operational guidelines how to engage in a value-sensitive design of digital twins, which will be piloted in and improved based on feedback of the three flagship projects. To this end, a tool to develop responsible innovation in emerging technologies that is developed by Vincent Blok will be applied.
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/21