Going back to your roots with Airbnb
It sounds like the start of an episode of Black Mirror. The consumer DNA testing company 23andMe announced it was “teaming up” with Airbnb to connect customers with their heritage: by helping them go on holiday to where their ancestors may have lived. Big data, it seems, can put you back in touch with your roots.
The premise is simple enough. You give a saliva sample to 23andMe, which performs the testing. Large numbers of genetic markers are compared with a reference population, a genetic yardstick derived from public data sets and 23andMe’s own data. 23andMe sends you the results, which indicate where your forebears may have hailed from, and a link to Airbnbs in those regions. You make the trip and feel a connection to kin who once pitched tents or watered horses on the same spot.