Complex vs. complicated

Complex vs. complicated

The speed at which technology moves and its increasing sophistication, it leads us to use the two previous terms interchangeably: complex and complicated. Until a couple of days ago when I was listening to Juan José Goñi in an innovation class, I also did not know the profound difference between them and it has been revealing to understand it, especially all to better understand the work we do at Ingartek.

A system, a software, a machine, can be complicated to understand, to disassemble,to program, but its fundamental characteristic is that when faced with an input stimulus. We know what your answer will be. On the other hand, what is complex occurs when before a input stimulus the output can be different. What a tongue twister… But, so what? system behaves this way? Well yes, you and me, the people. We are unpredictable that today we like it tomorrow we don’t like it (as the ad says), which for me is an obvious solution to you may not be, and may depending on other variables, make one decision today and the opposite tomorrow.

At Ingartek we are dedicated, among other things, to generating complicated models for predict complex systems. We know how difficult it is to predict mobility and it would be daring on our part to say that we have achieved it. But little by little we are giving steps relying on the tools that technology and digitalization give us.

A few years ago, no more than 10, these complicated systems were built on a chain of hypotheses. The surveys, going out to collect samples, were the tools that we had within our reach and with it we drew on a canvas the lines of how the mobility behaved. The drawing could look more or less like reality, but back then it was what was within our reach. A few years later, We went from drawing to being able to take pictures, a more complicated system, yes. We take a step closer to getting closer to better understanding mobility. The databases, theon-board devices, etc. give us a better resolution of how the mobility at a given instant. But it was that, a photo of a day, and from there to chaining assumptions one after the other to explain complex systems.

The technology of the cameras in our life was surpassed a long time ago. It is also true that the time scale has ceased to be linear (oh, if a physicist reads me…), we travel at a speed and an intensity that what happened 3 years ago seems to us it was forever ago. Now we have the possibility of taking as many photos as we want of mobility, and it is already known that when this happens we naturally switch to video. Other one step closer to getting closer to understanding this complex system of people moving from here to there The margin of error is reduced.

In 10 years we have gone from drawing mobility to being able to record it on video. We have come a long way in understanding these complex systems and I believe that more and more our complicated systems better explain our old problems. Provide telephony data, contactless cards, vehicle locations in real time, etc. give us the tools to reduce the margin of error with which we describe the mobility. Will there still be errors? Obvious! We are people and it is enough to look at each other little to see that before the same input stimulus we respond differently according to if it rains or not But let’s move in that direction.

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