The Fluid Society

The Fluid Society

The term “the fluid society” stands for the unfolding digital society, which will irrevocably be organised differently from the current one. In which there will be more global digital cooperation in numerous contexts. This is not only desirable, but also necessary in order to master the major problems of our time. These collaborations will have to take place digitally as much as possible, because that is more efficient, cheaper and more sustainable. A different way of thinking is necessary, to overcome the great contradictions between people and cultures and to come into balance with a healthy nature and living environment. To give people a new social footing. The current state of the world emphatically calls for holistic, inclusive, long-term thinking to prevail over the current national, self-centred and short-term thinking. If we can do that, there are good prospects for everyone.

On this website, blogs are posted, news items are published, links are indicated, books and articles are discussed, that deal with this future fluid society.

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Digital Democracy

On social media numerous discussions are taking place about the influence of Big Tech on society, about...

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Digital Utilities

This blog is the paragraph on “digital utilities” from the book “The Digital Challenge for Europe Exponential...

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Latest news

The Digital Challange for Europe

The book “The Digital Challenge for Europe” is published and contains a large amount of information and ideas about the fluid society that is unfolding. Besides analyzing the effects of digitalization on people and humanity, the book also addresses the major issues that governments are now struggling with as a result of digitalization effects. Which forms of governance could possibly offer a solution to master the many issues that are nowat stake?

Go to "books" to order as ebook, paperback or with hard cover

The pandemic has driven a great leap forward in digital learning. Is there any point in looking back? Book Review by Laura Spinney.

My 21-year-old goddaughter, a second-year undergraduate, mentioned in passing that she watches video lectures offline at twice the normal speed. Struck by this, I asked some other students I know. Many now routinely accelerate their lectures when learning offline – often by 1.5 times, sometimes by more. Speed learning is not for everyone, but there are whole Reddit threads where students discuss how odd it will be to return to the lecture theatre. One contributor wrote: “Normal speed now sounds like drunk speed.

Further reading:

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark Mcdaniel (Harvard, £24.95)

Building the Intentional University edited by Stephen M Kosslyn and Ben Nelson (MIT, £22.20)

How We Learn by Stanislas Dehaene (Penguin, £9.99)

Book Review by Rob Doyle. The writer’s follow-up to The Circle is longer and baggier, but still fuelled by rage at the power of Silicon Valley and its numbing effect on the human race.  Kudos to Dave Eggers. In this follow-up to the admirable, big-tech, dystopian thriller The Circle (which you needn’t have read to enjoy the current book), he again squares up to the new enemies of everything untamed and brilliant in humankind. If you meant to read Shoshana Zuboff’s important and demanding The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, but were too worn down by surveillance capitalism’s intrusions to get round to it, The Every tackles the same concerns from a shared perspective of humanist outrage, in the form of a gulpable fictive entertainment.

A former adviser to Mark Zuckerberg has said democracy “may never recover” if Facebook does not change and has called for misuse of users’ data to be labelled as unethical as child labour.

Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook who has become a staunch critic of the business, said revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen have created an opportunity for change at Zuckerberg’s social media empire.

If Haugen’s testimonies and documents do not force reform by hitting the company’s profits, then democracy would suffer, he said, adding: “If it doesn’t then democracy and our ability to make our own choices may never recover.”

Strategic autonomy continues to be “hot” in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. Not a week passes without a new policy proposal by the European Commission or a letter from a number of European Heads of State urging the strengthening of strategic autonomy and defence of sovereignty. As the thinking on strategic autonomy is evolving, it’s time to take a critical look at what it does and does not mean.

About four years ago, a speech by French President Macron ignited the debate on strategic autonomy in Europe. Soon after, Chancellor Merkel expressed her views on increasing autonomy with regard to Europe’s defence, a statement triggered by the deteriorating trans-Atlantic relationship under the Trump administration and made against the background of mounting threats from Russia and China. Use of the term strategic autonomy then expanded rapidly. It got linked to the digital domain in a broad sense, where it is often called “technological sovereignty” or “digital sovereignty“. Next, the term was also attached to finance, energy, materials and space. In 2020, health and vaccine strategic autonomy became new catchwords in light of Europe’s dependency on third-country suppliers and fears of losing control in the fight against COVID-19.

WASHINGTON — The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Tuesday that would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China.

Republicans and Democrats — overcoming their traditional partisan differences over economic policy — banded together to endorse what would be the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades. It includes federal investments in a slew of emerging technologies as well as the semiconductor industry.

The 68-32 vote reflected the sense of urgency about the need to counter Beijing and other authoritarian governments that have poured substantial resources into bolstering their industrial and technological strength.

Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence

The Commission proposes today new rules and actions aiming to turn Europe into the global hub for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). The combination of the first-ever legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation across the EU. New rules on Machinery will complement this approach by adapting safety rules to increase users' trust in the new, versatile generation of products.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “On Artificial Intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted. By setting the standards, we can pave the way to ethical technology worldwide and ensure that the EU remains competitive along the way. Future-proof and innovation-friendly, our rules will intervene where strictly needed: when the safety and fundamental rights of EU citizens are at stake.”

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “AI is a means, not an end. It has been around for decades but has reached new capacities fueled by computing power. This offers immense potential in areas as diverse as health, transport, energy, agriculture, tourism or cyber security. It also presents a number of risks. Today's proposals aim to strengthen Europe's position as a global hub of excellence in AI from the lab to the market, ensure that AI in Europe respects our values and rules, and harness the potential of AI for industrial use.” 

We must defend against the cyber threats facing our global financial systems.

Today, the assessment that a major cyber attack poses a threat to financial stability is axiomatic— not a question of if, but when. Yet the world's governments and companies continue to struggle to contain the threat because it remains unclear who is responsible for protecting the system.

Increasingly concerned, key voices are sounding the alarm. In February 2020, Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank and former head of the International Monetary Fund, warned that a cyber attack could trigger a serious financial crisis. In April 2020, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) warned that "a major cyber incident, if not properly contained, could seriously disrupt financial systems, including critical financial infrastructure, leading to broader financial stability implications." The potential economic costs of such events can be immense and the damage to public trust and confidence significant.


Peter Hagedoorn was the first CIO of the year in 2005. He has had a long career with Shell, the government and VP and CIO with multinationals. Now he has written a beautiful book called “The Fluid Society”. In just a few decades, “the economy” and “society” have been digitized. Every citizen can know at any time what is happening (anywhere in the world) and is ‘online’ 24/7.
Rob Beijleveld
In just a few decades, “the economy” and “society” have been digitized. Every citizen can know at any time what is happening (anywhere in the world). All this has enormous effects on the way in which societies function. The physical world is no longer the most important thing, but the digital world is actually the world in which more and more people are literally working and partly living.
Marco Derksen
Digitaal strateeg/ ondernemer/ docent
We are in the process of making a major shift from classical society to digital society. This transition is a phase transition. Peter Hagedoorn compares this in his book with the transition from ice (solid, structure) to water (liquid, fluid, mobile). The problem is that administrators and policymakers think it will all find its place and they just can stick to the old structures. That can’t go well for long.
Nico Jong
Senior advisor Communication research

Peter Hagedoorn

Peter Hagedoorn is trained as a physics engineer and has followed a career in which he has worked alternately for the public sector and business. He worked for Shell, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bull-Netherlands, RAET, Hagemeyer and Océ. He was Director of the Millennium Platform. He was the founder and first chairman of the CIO-Platform Nederland, in which capacity he was also on the Board of the European CIO Association. He was later appointed Secretary General of this organization.