"First Opinion" piece by DBMI Chair Zak Kohane appears in today's STAT.
From outside the door to their command and control center, I discreetly observed the team, taking care not to disturb them. They stared intently at the moonlit landscape littered with hidden traps and vertiginous fjords displayed on the large console in front of them, tracking their own progress and that of 10 other far-flung teams as they collectively navigated through the complex virtual environment toward a common goal.
When one team seemed to get lost or momentarily confused, a colleague on another team would grab her smartphone and offer concise video guidance. It was a remarkable demonstration of using technology to coordinate teams in complex tasks without prior training.
Even more remarkable, no team member was older than 11. The software they were using was Minecraft, the virtual reality navigation game that has addicted millions of users worldwide.