Is there a social benefit to emerging technologies such as simulation software and how so?
Oh yeah. The first thing that comes to mind are all the simulation programs springing up in the healthcare industry. Many of these are designed to improve patient care, stream line operations, and avoid errors. A lot of emphasis is planed on "centers of chaos" like the ER and the OR but its also migrating to the basic wards, and outpatient services. As well as billing, back office, and overall policy.
Another strong contended is in policy and strategy (mostly via System Dynamics tools). These are used for a host of social benefit programs like drug use, improving incarceration practices, better housing, and just many municipal planning activities. You'd be surprised at some of the cool forward-looking thinking that takes place here.
And, of course, its easy to argue that simulation is generally a suppressor of error and waste in industry as well as an efficiency multiplier. Its easy to argue that cheaper products and more competitive employers are a social boon in and of themselves.