Connected World


This is an Open Access publication. You can download the digital version for free here.


The social fabric of our society seems to be slowly unravelling. Although we are more digitally connected than ever before, true connection is becoming scarcer. Our neighbours are often strangers to us, our elders are increasingly isolated and lonely, our colleagues often work remotely, and online polarisation and verbal aggression have become everyday occurrences. Meanwhile, new challenges are emerging: our cities are growing rapidly, the population is ageing, our work is becoming increasingly decentralised, and media and algorithms are playing a progressively prominent role in our social lives.   Is the end of our existence as a social species in sight? Are we carrying society to the grave? Or are we still able to turn the tide? Can we use technology and our knowledge to promote social cohesion instead of disrupting it?   For this book we asked 100 members of the VU community – from historians to computer scientists, and from anthropologists to physicians – to share their innovative ideas on how to keep the world, and the people in it, genuinely connected. What insights from their fields can we use to build a collective future that is more socially cohesive?   Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) presents Connected World as part of its mission to work towards a healthy, sustainable, fair, and truly connected society.