Leonard J. Kish & Eric J. Topol –

It’s often said that data are the new gold, or the new oil, but they are much more like a New World distinguished, at least in part, by new maps. Indeed, the planet is becoming a new world of relationships, descriptive data and information flows. There are now over 1.5 billion registrants on Facebook (Menlo Park, CA, USA), and a Swedish startup called Truecaller (Stockholm) has assembled a phone directory of >1.6 billion human beings, with the intent of having every person on the planet in its directory. Social graphs that depict relationships between people and organizations are the new maps of a connected humanity—maps of people, organizations and many other dimensions of data that reveal how things are related. As recent examples, we’ve seen months of activity data from 22 million Americans and over 250 million nights of sleep data1,2. Such global data efforts have not yet reached medicine, but their arrival is both inevitable and imminent. 

Read the full article in Nature Biotechnology.