'The Science of Six Degrees of Separation' Wonders If Everyone Really IS Connected By Just Six Steps

It's a small world, but you wouldn't want to paint it. The concept of six degrees of separation says that any two people on the planet are connected to each other in just six steps or less. In a globally connected world where news goes viral in seconds, it feels like we're all constantly connected, if superficially.

In this video Veritasium host Derek Muller looks at the science and math behind the concept, looking back to the origins of the theory which came about in 1929 when Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story called Chains.

For a while it remained a purely fictional game to play, but then in the 1960s social psychologist Stanley Milgram decided to test it. The results, as Muller explains, have been interpreted as both evidence that the concept is true, and also that it isn't.

Muller even attempts a little experiment himself to prove the concept, asking viewers to try and get an email to him, but you can't send it directly to him unless you know him. No doubt he'll post the results of that soon.

Most of us are already aware of 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' the popular internet parlour game based on the six degrees of separation theory, where movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific Hollywood character actor Kevin Bacon.

But does any of it mean we're all connected by six degrees of separation? Who knows.


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