Paper: Potential and limitations of digital twins to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

05 August 2022
by Asaf Tzachor, Soheil Sabri, Catherine Richards, Abbas Rajabifard, Michele Acuto

A new paper published in Nature Sustainability co-authored by researchers including CSER's Catherine Richards and CSER affiliate Asaf Tzachor, asks could computer simulation models drive our ambitions to sustainability in urban and non-urban environments? 

Co-author Asaf Tzachor explains:

“The study examines the manifold sustainability benefits of digital twins across global, regional and urban scales – how they foster safe innovation in climate-tech and clean-tech, and how they promote efficiency in resource allocation in cities and industries.  
The study also reviews the risks and limitations of digital twins when modelling socio-technical and socio-ecological systems, such as inaccurate simulations of multi-component dynamic systems, as well as digital divides between cities and states in the ability to access and leverage this technology. 

We conclude with suggesting pathways to attenuate such concerns, including ways to open the digital twin design process to a diversity of actors, thereby "turning" digital twins into instruments of social inclusion (towards inclusive development).  And, we recommend institutions and technology investors to practice an investment approach guided by a 'digitization-ready domains' principle (and explain what exactly that means)”

Read full paper

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