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Yikes! - and beware! Google wants to index and optimise your body

We all know that 1984 is well and truly upon us and that nothing is sacred or secure from prying eyes or being recorded and stored somewhere.    Now, the next intrusion may be a step away if Google as its way.   It ought not!

"Google’s new “moonshot” project isn’t a new fancy gadget, but the fanciest gadget of all: the human body.

Announced Friday in The Wall Street Journal, Google’s Baseline Study will aim to define “healthy.” The thinking, as explained by Google X’s molecular biologist Andrew Conrad, is that knowing exactly how a fully functioning human body works might aid in the earlier detection of disease. Google X is the technology giant’s research arm, where Google Glass, driverless cars, and other headline-grabbing projects have been conceived.

By collecting a large set of genetic data—Google plans on starting with 175 people, but will later expand to “thousands”—and applying its considerable computing power to the samples, Google thinks it can identify “biomarkers” that may signify either advantages or deficiencies that a particular patient may have:

The study may, for instance, reveal a biomarker that helps some people break down fatty foods efficiently, helping them live a long time without high cholesterol and heart disease. Others may lack this trait and succumb to early heart attacks. Once Baseline has identified the biomarker, researchers could check if other people lack it and help them modify their behavior or develop a new treatment to help them break down fatty foods better, Dr. Conrad said.
Privacy concerns abound. Conrad told the Journal that institutional review boards will monitor the entire process, and that Stanford and Duke medical schools will eventually run clinics in coordination with Google. Given academia’s rubber-stamping of a recent mood experiment that Facebook conducted on its users, that may or may not be comforting.

Google X will also continue to create more wearable technology, and Baseline participants will use them throughout the study. The suggestion is perhaps obvious: Google is making a bid to be among the biggest players in the future of medicine, and it wants to have not only the human data, but also to provide the diagnostic and perhaps treatment tools that become relevant as a result of its own data analysis. Thus the contact lenses that will monitor blood sugar levels, and more."

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