Real life: peer to peer


I have taken 5 long haul flights this year with one to go. Jet lag has been pretty hard on me until by pure chance, on my third flight I sat next to a medical student. In their fourth year of studies, they also had four years of long haul flight experience, real life experience, to share. The magic formula: stay up to 10pm on the US leg of the trip. Now, this is hard to do, but I battled through the heavy eye lids and the outcome, I did not wake up to 6am rather than 2am. It is now my golden rule of jet lag prevention.

The thing about life is that we can only try things in real time. It’s not like building a website were you can experiment and iterate the look and feel over and over again in a few seconds. In medical research papers or pharmaceutical trials, we take a sample of the population and use statistics to provide a wider meaning. Sample sizes are very small and their focus is limited. Real life is more than statistics and is far richer than the research topics covered. Can we expand beyond this?

Yes, we can empower individuals with the tools and scientific models that are limited and restricted to a few (researchers or corporations) today. There is no reason why everyone can’t have access to such services. Clearly, there a some key challenges ahead, from making them easy to use and ensuring the quality of data analysed is trusted by the community. But these are challenges we can find answers to by collaborating, peer to peer.

It is too high risk, at least for me, to rely on bumping into the right person that provides the information that can empower my life and health decision making. However, we are lucky the Internet is providing a big peer cloud of such real life experience and this is growing bigger every day. The challenge is to bring back information that matters from the peer cloud that is most relevant to the life we choose to live.

Peer to peer we have all the answers.



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