Biomatrix panel of electronic facilitation of scientific communication

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at PRESTO.IG.COM
Tue Jul 3 16:37:32 EST 1990

> This
> panel is an opportunity to look at some of the accomplishments of our
> increasing electronic interconnectivity, as well as to identify some
> of the challenges that arise when the dazzling promises held out by
> techno-optimists meets the pragmatic reality of how science is
> actually done.  


I sure wouldn't want to be accused of being a techno-optimist 8-)!!!
The last four years have demonstrated how slow change really occurs.
Imagine the irony, for example, in having to travel around to talk
(yes, by word of mouth!) to small groups (typically 30, occasionally
60) and tell them about this global communications network that sits
underutilized in front of them.  This takes a certain amount of dogged
determination, but what keeps it going is the realization (and this is
*not* faith) that it will all work out *someday*.  Of this I am

However, particularly these days in the U.S., there seems to be a
certain vogue in pessimism.  In my view that is the easy way out.  It
can also be a convenient excuse for not learning new technology.
There are undoubtedly influential people in the scientific community
who would think that we are wasting our time on BIOSCI.  Heck, I can
probably give you a million reasons myself why BIOSCI can never make
it (remember that I see all the warts continuously).  After all, how
many truly prominent biologists use electronic communications?
Obviously this investment is not for them.  The real question in my
mind is whether they will leave it for the next generation.

Don't expect wild-eyed futurism in my talk.  I intend to deal
equitably with both the pros and cons.  On the other hand, don't
expect me to knuckle under to pessimists either!


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