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This audacious study will track 10,000 New Yorkers' every move for 20 years

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Paul Glimcher is on the verge of launching an absurdly ambitious project in social science. The concept is simple, but the scope is spectacularly broad. Over the next few years, he and his team are going to recruit 10,000 New Yorkers and track everything about them for decades.

By everything, I mean full genome data, medical records, diet, credit card transactions, physical activity, personality test scores, intelligence test scores, social interactions, neighborhood characteristics, loan records, time spent on email, educational achievement, employment status, sleep, GPS location data, blood work, and stool samples. And there's so much more.

Here's how granular it will get: There are plans to use Bluetooth technology to track how often family members interact with one another.

This is the Kavli HUMAN Project, and Glimcher is the director. The goal is to create an atlas of the human experience — to find out how biology, psychology, and the environment all interact to shape our lives.