Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Those Who Can Remember The Past

When we display time series data, the visualization process helps us "remember" a small portion of the past and detect previously unseen patterns.

Twenty first century technology simplifies capturing time series values for the most important factors that rule our lives. We can now capture hundreds of important factors at frequent intervals and save months or years of time series results all at a minimal cost. Similarly, today's technology makes viewing these series on our desktop or laptop computers available with the most modest effort.

Despite the low cost and ease of viewing and reviewing the most important time series in our lives, we still appear wedded to using traditional approaches that render the visual patterns inaccessible and invisible and make it dramatically more difficult for us to remember the past. We are so used to doing things the old way, that we don't even notice what and how much we are missing. Indeed, if we cannot see it, these changes over time act as if they simply do not exist.

As George Santayana noted,
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The underlying thesis of the CHANGE OVER TIME blog is the converse of Santayana's powerful insight, namely:

Those who can remember the past, are best able to shape the future to match their fondest hopes and dreams.

1 comment:

Lance Spear said...

Since consciousness restricts us to the illusion of a timeline, it is important to frame both the past and the future within this context. It will be interesting to see how the meshing and intersecting of other timelines with one's own is addressed in this Blog's discussions.