Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, in a recent TED appearance, presented that in our ardent lifelong pursuit of happiness, most humans follow the wrong map. Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.
As a writer working in simulation, what I also found very interesting is that he speaks of how the human brain can simulate experiences. And that simulation is one of those uniquely human characteristics, such as an opposable thumb and the ability to combine and recombine different types of information and knowledge in order to gain new understanding.
Isn’t it amazing that, in other words we can have an experience in our head before we actually ever have to face a real situation?
Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. As Mr. Gilbert states, even though we have the amazing ability to do this as humans, we don’t always do it correctly. Probably we allow emotions to cloud the accuracy of our simulations.
What is great about computers and simulation is that it uses statistics and mathematical analysis to perform simulation, therefore eliminating the room for error. These simulations yield objective data from which we can make better decisions. Decisions not based on emotion or intuition, but facts. And…not only that, but we have the ability to have the experience on the computer, an incalculable amount of times. In addition, we can change the situation slightly and test out the experience again.
To me, that is just amazing! What are your thoughts?