Confucian Commonsense Meets the AI Revolution

July 11, 2020

10pm Berggruen China Center – Beijing, China


July 11, 2020 – 10:00 p.m. PST
July 12, 2020 – 13:00 China Standard Time (GMT+8)


In the holistic, one-world process cosmology made explicit in the Book of Changes that lies behind a Confucian commonsense, primacy is given to a vital, living relationality that produces an ecological cosmology of interpenetrating events.

But what does this have to do with AI?

Key Discussions:

• How is AI revolution perceived and responded to in the Confucian context?
• Why is human culture integral to nature?
• Why is the development of robotics “natural”?

Streaming platform:

• Tencent Meeting –
   Meeting ID: 870 151 757
• Watch the live stream by clicking:


Roger T. Ames

• Co-Chair, Academic Advisory Committee, Berggruen Research Center, Peking University
• Humanities Chair Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Peking University

Roger T. Ames is Humanities Chair Professor at Peking University, Academic Director to Berggruen China Center, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i. He is the former editor of Philosophy East & West and founding editor of China Review International. Ames has authored several interpretative studies of Chinese philosophy and culture: including Through Confucius and Anticipating China, (both with D.L. Hall), and most recently Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary. His publications also include translations of Chinese classics, including The Confucian Analects, The Daodejing (with D.L. Hall), and The Classic of Family Reverence: The Xiaojing (with H. Rosemont). He has been engaged in writing articles promoting a conversation between American pragmatism and Confucianism.

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.