Recently, a few of my colleagues were attempting to answer a question for a client regarding simulations: “What is the value of a three-dimensional environment in visualizing data?”
This question overlooks the true value of simulation software: the ability to move ahead in time — along “lines of duration” — and “see” the future.
To explain, I’ll introduce a late 1880s short story about traveling through time…
H.G. Wells proposed time travel in his short story titled “The Chronic Argonauts.” The story, first published in 1888, describes an inspired Welsh scientist who builds a machine for travel to a time more suitable to his intellect and genius.
The scientist, Dr. Nebogipfel, explains to his future traveling companion, Reverend Cook, that logical premises and ideas are simply “diagrammatic caricatures of the unexplainable.” He goes on to explain that no three dimensional form can exist in the material universe without an extension in time.
Since time marches on, all three-dimensional forms must have a duration; they must exist in context to time. Thus, the doctor proposed that time travel or “locomotion along lines of duration” was indeed possible.
This is a very interesting insight by Wells, considering that Albert Einstein’s contributions to the mechanics of time were still 17 years away. It’s also where we come back to the true power of simulation software, because today’s simulations aid decision-makers by providing “locomotion along lines of duration.”
Simulations enable decision-makers to establish initial historic conditions then play forward along a line of duration to see what outcome is possible.
Similarly, by changing the initial conditions, alternative futures can be observed. The degree to which the future is perceptible is limited only by the simulated sensory environment.
So How, Exactly, Can Your Business Travel through Time Using Simulations?
Take a look at this simulation built to change a community’s entire healthcare system.
This study identified 1200 different variables that affect the healthcare outcomes in a large U.S. city. By identifying and characterizing the relationships between the variables, the simulation can be run ahead, decades into the future.
Decision-makers can see the outcomes of their investments in terms of the future by exploring the lines of duration. The visualization of the future state is shown both graphically using a cityscape and through the use of charts and graphs.
Formerly relegated to the science and engineering community, simulations were expensive and difficult to use, and the outcomes were questionable without scientific rigor. As computing power gets cheaper, however, simulations are becoming more robust and accessible.
What Are Some Real-World Examples of Simulations in Action?
As network capacity expands, simulations will be able to access real-time data and overlay these in the real-world visual space. Use of devices such as Google Glass™ are already allowing users to see information within their visual space.
The future of simulations will be to overlay and play scenarios, using available data within the visual space.
Simulations Are a Powerful Tool to Create Alternative Realities.
As these tools become more sophisticated, traveling along Well’s “lines of duration” will become as commonplace as perusing your electronic spreadsheet.
© Takouba Security, LLC.
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