Our »Digital Me« and its »Digital Life Journey«

As the digitization of everyday life continues, we are perceiving many digital achievements as assisting us in our living and working environments. Most of these new digital services are based on data, or in more concrete terms, our personal data. Making a list of who processes which of our data for what purposes appears virtually impossible. Yet the question is: Would it be possible to describe the individual citizen in their entirety by combining all their data – the “digital me” so to speak? The »Digital Life Journey« examines the basis for a self-determined life of every citizen and shows how the individual can regain sovereignty over their data, and how society, technology, ethics, law, and economics have to work together.



»Digital Life« - What happened before us and will happen after us

The digital life journey outlines the path for a sovereign handling of own data from our birth to our death. Beyond the actual physical birth, data assigned to us prior to that also have to be taken into account. Here the increasing prevalence of genetic screening is an example. Defined approaches are also required for the handling of data when we cannot make those decisions, temporarily or also permanently, due to cognitive and/or motor impairments (such as coma) or after death. Here the focus is on the digital legacy or digital inheritance, what we receive and what we pass on.



The Evolution from the Digital Shadow to the Personal Digital Twin

We call the current stage of evolution a »Digital Shadow«. Everything around us is a sensor and collects data that describes us. Unfortunately, at this point one cannot talk about an encompassing ecosystem, because solely the respective provider decides whether and to what extent we gain access to our data. The data is stored highly fragmented.

The next evolutionary stage will be the »Digital Me«. For the first time, data will be merged into a holistic virtual image of us. This requires an ecosystem that will bear down the existing boundaries between service providers.

Finally, the »Personal Digital Twin« is no longer just a representation of data, but also behavior in order to interact autonomously with an ecosystem. Functions of data processing, in particular AI, make it possible for him to make own decisions.



The Framework

The Digital Life Journey makes it clear that digital transformation does not just mean the introduction of new technologies, but also asks for new methods and approaches to deal with digitization in society. The framework requires an interdisciplinary collaboration to implement the goal dimensions society, technology, ethics, law and economics.