Tony Coll | Opinion
FIRST PUBLISHED IN ISSUE 106 (2012/13)
So I got myself an iPhone*. I have moved on. Tired of being mocked by children, colleagues and strangers on the train about the Old World device that had served me so well for so many years, I have entered the polyphonic world of global glee.
Things are different now. Never mind the neuroendocrinology behind the addiction to check persistently if I have another message of international, day-stopping importance (…what do you think?), my upgrade has imbued me with a range of superpowers.
I seem not only to be able to end a call with my chin, but also to be able to alert the emergency services at the same time as unlocking the screen. I can now chuckle ironically to myself as, head down, looking at a blue dot in a palm-sized glow world to find out where I am, I walk into a lamp post. Such fun.
In truth, my critics were right and there is no going back. It is a palpable joy to be able to find information so readily in whichever unlikely place you find yourself. The world has never seemed so small and with open access so correctly on the rise, data are but a finger flick away.
Yet there remains a need to interact and communicate in a way that cannot be done though a keypad. I discovered today on a news website that if my new technological world leaves me feeling cold I can get myself a ‘wearable social media vest’. A ‘like’ on a well known social networking site will, via wireless technology, inflate said jacket and you will be ‘hugged’. Pretentious whimsy perhaps, but maybe the artist is hinting at something a little deeper, in that, however advanced the augmented reality of technology becomes, sentient humans require more than visual input to make sense of – and feel they belong in – the world.
People still need to meet in the flesh. Consider some of the projects you are working on. How much easier do things run if you have met your collaborators in person to discuss what is going on? Reflect a little upon the power of the corridor conversation to point you in a different direction. The same is true of conferences; watching the story ‘played live’, then discussing the finer points with your mates afterwards, can be far more rewarding than sitting in an office hunched over a 10-inch tablet. The rush of delivering a cracking talk to an appreciative audience should also be celebrated.
The Science Committee plays a major part in shaping the contents of meetings throughout the year. We come together and discuss how you as an endocrine community can do the same. We are not a closed shop of self-interested parties, but strive to put together quality programmes of decent science from wherever it originates. As you travel the world, be it real or virtual, and come across exciting and interesting endocrinology, let us know via whichever medium you have to hand and we’ll see if we can help spread the news.
*Other highly connected, electronic hand-held devices are available.