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Accepted Paper:

Blurred boundaries in the modeling of digital twins: the performative re- purposing of in silico models  
Elisa Elhadj (KU Leuven) Maiju Tanninen Ine Van Hoyweghen (KU Leuven)

Short abstract:

This paper explores the performative re-purposing of in silico models into digital twins. We investigate how and why this distinction is made, who determines it, and why we should care. The aim is to demystify digital twins, make the values at stake visible and how this technology is made real.

Long abstract:

While we are still figuring out what it means to be living in a datafied world, a new cornerstone seems to emerge, this time, through so-called “medical digital twins”. Yet, what a medical digital twin means and constitutes of is still fuzzy, even for those involved in its development. Experts of this field have sought to clarify the issue by highlighting the technical differences between an in silico model and a digital twin, often associating the distinction with the maturity level or the aim of a model. However, in real life practices, in silico models and digital twins often overlap, making the boundaries between the two blurry. Hence, the technical approach overlooks the socio-political factors that influence distinction dynamics, and, importantly, when an in silico model(s) transitions into a digital twin. This incites reflections on how and why the distinction is made and by whom? What is the purpose of this (discursive) move? How are values arranged, prioritized and negotiated in this move? And, why should we care?

This paper explores the performative re-purposing of in silico models into digital twins. We study the field of in silico medicine from the inside, through an extensive ethnographic study where we examine the in silico community's discourses, the network of experts alongside specific practices working towards digital twins. This is undertaken with the objective of demystifying digital twins, making visible the values at stake and how this technology is made real.

Traditional Open Panel P287
Beyond value alignment: invoking, negotiating and implementing values in algorithmic systems
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -