Connected World

Digitization is changing the world around us at a breath-taking rate. Entire sectors - such as the retail trade, taxis or hotels - are undergoing radical changes. Social networks span the globe and smart applications mean that communication is easier than ever before. Yet at the same time it has also become ever easier to isolate yourself from society and we are actually seeing increasing levels of isolation in our cities. And for the time being, the vast amount of data that we generate on a daily basis is raising more questions than it can answer.

Under the Connected World theme, VU Amsterdam brings together a unique group of researchers from practically all disciplines to consider what it means to live in a world where everything and everyone is connected. These are questions that affect all of us. And they have far-reaching consequences for people, businesses, governments and science itself.

Within science, digitization is helping us to tap into new sources of knowledge and create new research techniques. After all, the amount of information we are all generating is increasing by the day. How could we use that data to lead healthier lives, for example? And such questions immediately raise other questions about privacy and how much say we have regarding our online behaviour and the data that it generates. What if technology were to be extended into our own bodies in the future? What would it mean, then, to be human? A Connected World, as VU Amsterdam sees it, is about much more than just information technology. We seek answers to the questions raised by globalization and cross-border digitization.

With our research and education, we want to make the world better. By focusing on education and research along the four profile themes, we encourage collaboration between different fields. VU Amsterdam offers various undergraduate programs that are associated with the Connected World theme.

During the 135th anniversary of VU Amsterdam, four anniversary conferences took place, including the conference ‘Guide to the Network Society’.