This video from Geneva, Switzerland is a beautiful instance of the repurposing of data. Shown are the data flows between cell phones across the city over night and day. This glimpse of the interactions over time also suggests new frontiers in real-time epidemiology. What if these (anonymized) data could be tagged with symptoms (e.g. cough, sneeze) could we track the spread of infections? Public health would then start to look a lot more like intensive care medicine, providing real-time monitoring of cities or nations (taking the "pulse" of the population, evaluating the activity and coherence of its "neural" activity). Will there be a new research and medical discipline that fuses the sciences of population ecology and population health? And should populations be empowered to forego such intensive study?
(Hat tip: Joshua Parker).
p.s. As a someone who grew up in Geneva, I was quite surprised to see a lot of activity at 2 AM. Is this the consequence of the Swiss work ethic?