Is Technology a “Smart” Drug?

September 4, 2021

12am Virtual

12:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. PDT | 15:00-17:00 Beijing Time

Language: Chinese

Streaming Platform:

The use of “sick” and “cure” in the title of the new book: Technology Is Sick, But I Have No Cure is not a marketing gimmick, but a way to inspire discussion about what keeps us awake in an era of deep tech.

Technology no longer needs to rely on science to support its own rationality; breaking free from the “shadow of truth” enables what is known as the “rebellion of technology.” This has given birth to a technological “new world”. The new world of technology has four important features: “knowledge infection,” “acceleration and deceleration,” technological governance and society, and “mind-body design.”

Key Discussion Topics:

• In the era of deep tech, what keeps us awake at night?
• What is the “rebellion of technology?”
• How does the “rebellion of technology” serve as a driving force for a “tech new world?”
• In the technological era, how can we live with ourselves, and how should technology developers think ahead?

DUAN Weiwen
• Professor, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
• Berggruen Alumni Fellow

Duan Weiwen specializes in philosophy of science and philosophy of information technology. His current research focus is on the philosophical, ethical, and social impact of big data and AI. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society and Journal of Responsible Innovation. He is also one of the deputy chairmen of the Committee of Big Data Experts of China. He is the chief researcher of “Philosophical Studies on the Intelligence Revolution and Deepening Techno-Scientific Nature of Human Beings” (2017-2022). He is the author of several books, including The Ethical Foundation of Information Civilization (2020, Shanghai People’s Press); Acceptable Science: Reflection on the Foundation of Contemporary Science (2014, Science and Technology Press of China); Ethical Reflections on Cyberspace (2002, Jiangsu People’s Publishing House); and Time Bound: Life in a Techno-Humanist World (2001, Guangdong Education Publishing House).

LIU Yongmou
Professor, School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China

Liu Yongmou specializes in philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, and STS (Science, Technology and Society). Currently, he focuses on the governance of new technology, smart revolution and smart governance, technology and art, and big data and socio-statistical philosophy. He is the author of more than 20 books, including The Rebellion of Technology; Epidemic Response and Technological Governance; Minerva in Action; Foucault’s Journey of Subject Deconstruction; The Internet of Things and the Coming of Ubiquitous Society; and The Attack and Defense of Ideas, and more than 140 papers in Chinese, English, Russian, and German. He has received awards from the National Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation and was selected as one of the first Outstanding Humanities Scholars of Renmin University of China, as well as the New Century Talents Program of the Ministry of Education.

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.