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Lockdown, loneliness, and love machines: Economist Noreena Hertz's new book unpicks our troubled relationship with tech

Lockdown, loneliness, and love machines: Economist Noreena Hertz's new book unpicks our troubled relationship with tech

Noreena Hertz's new book 'The Lonely Century' was released in September
Mark Nolte




In her new book "The Lonely Century", economist Noreena Hertz explores the relationship between loneliness, the rise of right-wing populism, and the growing demand for robot companions.




Praised by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker as "fascinating, timely, and important", Hertz spent two years working on her new book before being forced to complete it under lockdown.




"It was quite an experience to spend two years writing about isolation, only for everyone to suddenly be forced to stay at home," Hertz told Business Insider.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Speaking down the line from her north London home in Primrose Hill, it's not immediately clear if lockdown affected Noreena Hertz much at all."I'd effectively been in self-isolation for two years already," she says. "I really do tend to shut the world out when I'm writing."Once dubbed "one of the most inspiring women in the world" by Vogue, Professor Hertz started work on her latest book "The Lonely Century", a timely treatise on the relationship between loneliness and technology, more than two years ago, after sensing heightened anxieties over social interaction among her students."They said they felt isolated and lonely. Face-to-face interactions seemed much more difficult than they had been in the past," she explains. "And later on, I was having dinner with the president of an Ivy League university in the states, and he said: 'You know, we've got exactly the same problem.'"
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