and in what part of life (please be a little specific) does that knowledge become relevant/applicable?
EDIT: nm. I just finished the article, and I get it now.
For those who didn't read the article, let's make it really basic. You get in your car and you want to go 50MPH. From a standstill you mash down on the pedal so you can get to 50MPH quickly. If you go over 50MPH, you let up on the pedal.
From there, its the details that are important. In some systems you don't really mash down on the gas, because the engine will overheat. In some systems you let up on the gas before you get to 50MPH, because you'll be ticketed for going over the speed limit. In some systems. So you have a bunch of little variable you can play with to adjust the curve.
It is often used for systems where you're trying to hit a target number, such as cruise control, or oven temperature control.
It sounds like Tony is looking into stuff that is even more complex, since it is predictive. In this case, his car has a camera on the front end and realizes it is about to go uphill, so starts giving it a bit more gas.