Digital Doubles – allowing us to truly create our own digital space?
by Dave McRobbie, Digital Strategist

Digital Doubles – allowing us to truly create our own digital space?

The never-ending momentum of technological development and advancement can, at many times, seem to be pulling in a number of different directions – seemingly contradictory approaches and opinions on the future of our use of technology – remember the MiniDisc anyone?

And in 2020 it seems as though this is only being exacerbated – VR, AR, AI, Big Data, Edge Networks, 5G all pulling out attention towards a ‘new and exciting’ future. Although the collaborative approach of technologists to the awful spread and impact of Covid 19 – will hopefully provide a vision into how by coming together consensus can deliver change be in the future – technology (by its very nature and design) will undoubtedly, at some stage, default back to at times it’s confusing, contradictory and multi-platform/device state.

One area of potential counterbalance to technological contradiction is the arena of Digital Doubles – all-seeing, transactional, monitoring, communicating digital ‘versions’ of ourselves. We already are paddling at its edge – we have digital versions of ourselves on social media, email filters that automatically move correspondence into folders and apps that process interactions through a workflow that we have designed – using products such as If This Then That.

As one of Accenture’s trends to watch in 2020/21 we can be sure that businesses and individuals will at the very least investigate the potential of Digital Doubles and – with the full longer term impact of the Covid 19 pandemic some time from being understood, we can also be sure that more cost-effective and automated ways of interacting between business and customer will be explored.

At the very core of Digital Doubles sits ‘Personalised AI’ – a completely individualised model focused on you. A model that you feed – either explicitly or implicitly – one which sits in the background of your day to day interactions and in the foreground of your digital presence. From automating regular ‘mundane’ admin tasks and regular purchasing processes through to predictive and persuasive recommendations and even ‘automatically’ publishing opinions via social media, the potential of Digital Doubles is not only fascinating but is worth some serious consideration.

Social Profile

From the positive aspects – i.e. allowing individuals to truly create their own digital eco-system and therefore fully control their own experiences to more negative potential impacts – you may feed you Digital Double but will you really control it – the area is likely to be one of the rapidly developing grounds for technological, ethical and privacy battles.

We can, however, be sure that the growing use of digital automation in the way that humans interact with technology will only continue apace and that experience designers will need to fully aware of the implications and impact of these developments. How, for example, can an experience designer – design for infinite numbers of individual digital eco-systems and Digital Doubles? How can user journeys be defined for everyone that uses the web? How many personas are required?!

I would hugely recommend that experience designers, product developers and any strategists involved in the digital space begin to take a look into the areas of Digital Doubles and Personalised AI – even a broad understanding of the principles will leave you better placed to accommodate and potentially lead the adoption of the technologies.

You can catch up on our webinar where we discussed Digital Doubles over on our Youtube. 

UX Consultant Emma Peters

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