Some very large cyberattacks have occurred in recent years. The 2017 breach of the credit agency Equifax affected more than 140 million people and hundreds of thousands of credit and debit cards. Yahoo has been hit twice, with hackers accessing the personal information of nearly 1 billion users. Symantec Corp’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report indicated that between 2011 and 2015, the percentage of spear-phishing attacks —personalized, targeted attempts to steal sensitive information— targeting small businesses increased from 18 percent to 43 percent, and that number continues to grow exponentially.

This is not just a trend but a reality of the new economy. That’s why businesses will need to better protect themselves and invest in advanced technologies to ensure more secure transactions. The truth is we are now living in the digital world, and much of our data is insecure. So, what can we do? What if there was a way to lock everything digital that we hold dear?

Introducing Digital Twins

Digital Twins, a real-time, virtual model of our physical selves—our online persona— is constantly transacting and acting on our behalf through automation, without ever needing to rest or refuel. As the fourth pillar of Digital Singularity (Hyperconvergence, Digital Moments and Augmented Reality are the other three pillars) Digital Twins will only be accessed via biometrics and will be programmed to look after our vital information to shield our identity from cyberattacks. It will encrypt all of our data, including sensitive information about our bank accounts, credit cards, and social media accounts, to guard them from people who might use it against us. With a Digital Twin you will never again have to find a reliable way to remember your many passwords, as the Digital Twin will consolidate them all, as well as our personal data, to protect them better.

The Digital Twin is truly designed to eliminate human activities that are repetitive and mundane. It will use RPA to automate human activities and processes that would otherwise be done manually. This will give us more time to focus on higher-value activities.

One thing to remember: The Digital Twin is not a sentient being; it is neither conscious nor “alive.” It will rely on machine learning and be absolutely under our control, and it will acquire more “intelligence” as AI advances. It will work under our direction, conducting thousands of transactions as we teach it to do more of what we want. These transactions are not only about buying and selling products; they are also communications with our family members, friends, and associates, like remembering someone’s birthday with well wishes.

As the digital economy makes large investments in cybersecurity and other technology prerequisites such as blockchain, cloud, and AI, Digital Twins will continue to progress in security and efficiency. Digital Twins will become the lockbox for seven aspects of our physical and digital lives:

  1. Relationship management
  2. Financial management
  3. Security management
  4. Social communities we belong to
  5. Work and school lives
  6. Purchasing transactions
  7. Health

How Digital Twins Will Work

As we move toward a world where transactions are happening electronically, our Digital Twin will require underlying insurance to safeguard losses from security breaches, so we can be certain it is safe. If there is a hack, our Digital Twin would be insured for losses. The Digital Twin could help us manage hacking and be programmed to notify authorities or shut down accounts if there is unexpected spending or suspicious activity.

In the future, we may be able to subscribe to a Digital Twin service or platform where we could buy modules to manage our personal, financial, and work lives. These modules would be preprogrammed to carry out activities, such as buying groceries, paying bills, balancing our checkbooks, etc. That platform might charge us on a monthly basis to secure our social security numbers, passports and data from our personal and professional lives. It will protect our digital assets and records like never before, and it will alter and update the data that it maintains.

There are many things a Digital Twin could do. It could communicate with our doctors and provide them with our entire health history. It could become a regular part of our lives for security, banking, health, and shopping, as it will deliver the right authentication for every transaction because it will have all the necessary information. Our Digital Twin will even manage and protect us and our estate after we are no longer around. It will have the potential to live beyond us, carrying out our wishes and the instructions of any trust we establish.

Advantages for Business

As we have seen, the cost to business from digital and e-commerce fraud has been steadily climbing. Huge numbers—trillions of dollars—are lost in leakage through illegal transactions online. The good news is that Digital Twins’ authentication and security capabilities will be essential for wiping out, regulating, and managing such fraud and attacks.

In the near future, Digital Twins will become the primary channel for selling products, services, and financial packages. Companies that fail to learn about Digital Twins will be missing a segment of the market which will be interacting with companies in a new way. If this is how consumers will buy, interact in social networks, and engage in Digital Moments and financial transactions, you now have the potential to market to the Digital Twin. The potential of Digital Twins is huge. A comprehensive knowledge of, and investment in, Digital Twins could soon become the price of admission for doing business.

[1] Michael Hiltzik, “Here Are All the Ways the Equifax Data Breach Is Worse Than You Can Imagine,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2017, http://www. latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-equifax-breach-20170908-story.html.

[1] Vindu Goel and Nicole Perlroth, “Yahoo Says 1 Billion User Accounts Were Hacked,” New York Times, December 14, 2016, https://www.nytimes. com/2016/12/14/technology/yahoo-hack.html.