Over the course of just a few decades, we have become consumers and generators of a massive amount of digital data. From billions of search queries every day, to the growing number of gaming interactions around the globe, to countless videos streaming on our wired and mobile devices, the amount of data zooming across the internet this year alone will exceed one zettabyte. (That’s a 1 followed by 21 zeroes.) To give you a sense of the magnitude of this number, one zettabyte is equivalent to the amount of data that can be stored on 7.8 billion 128 gb iPhones or close to the number of stars in the universe.
This dramatic rise in the scale of our digital data is paralleled by rapid advances in information science, which has accelerated our ability to analyze these vast oceans of data. In both large and small ways, the insights derived from big data now influence our daily experiences—from how we book a flight or manage our finances, to the films and music we choose. Yet, while big data has already transformed life as we know it, this is just the very beginning.
As we look to the future of healthcare, health data at scale may hold the key to revolutionizing how we diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases. The vast wealth of health and personal data now available to us can give us greater insight into what constitutes disease—from the genes we are born with and the genetic makeup of the trillions of bacteria that inhabit our bodies, to our lifestyle habits and the myriad of environmental factors we encounter daily. We believe that, by sharing and analyzing this data, we can build better predictive models to guide how we approach and affect our health.
The launch of Sema4 is our next step in realizing this vision. Originating from the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology and the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai, Sema4 is differentiated by a strong foundation of clinical expertise, world-class academic research, and pioneering information science. Our interdisciplinary team also brings diversity in both expertise and perspective to these efforts. From scientists, doctors, and genetic counselors, to engineers, designers, and bioinformaticians, the Sema4 team, itself, is a powerful network that is uniquely poised to drive innovation in this space.
Maybe you are starting your family and hoping for better health for your children. Perhaps you are facing a chronic illness and looking for answers. Or maybe you are a clinician invested in improving outcomes for your patients. For every one of us, harnessing health data can revolutionize how we define, understand, and create wellness. Our work at Sema4 is our commitment to making this possibility a reality. We believe that, together, we can channel the combined powers of science and technology to bring about meaningful change in our healthcare. Today, with the launch of Sema4, we are excited to start this journey toward a healthier future with you.
Eric Schadt, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer