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Simulating (some) individuals in a connected world
  1. Jenny Krutzinna
  1. Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jenny Krutzinna, Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Jenny.Krutzinna{at}

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Braun explores the use of digital twin technology in medicine with a particular emphasis on the question of how such simulations can represent a person.1 In defining some first conditions for ethically justifiable forms of representation of digital twins, he argues that digital twins do not threaten an embodied person, as long as that person retains control over their simulated representation via dynamic consent, and ideally with the option to choose both form and usage of the simulation.

His thoughtful elaboration provides insight into the challenges inherent in interactions between a person and their digital twin, emphasising the modes of control required to respect personal modes of freedom. This individual-centric approach to the question of representation leaves out the important ethical consideration of ensuring that all, not merely some, can be represented. Braun describes dynamic consent as a necessary mode of control, arguing that where a person is unable to give consent, ‘such simulations threaten to become illegitimate representations. They would then shift the kind of interaction from representation to illegitimate forms of prediction or surveillance and thereby could lead to infringements to individual modes of freedom.’ Consequently, the implementation of digital twin technology in healthcare would seem to exclude the most vulnerable members of society from participation in and benefiting from medical innovation, …

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  • Contributors JK is the sole author.

  • Funding The author has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 724460).

  • Disclaimer The publication reflects only the author’s view, and the Funding Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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