Parent-Child Relationships and the Future of Humanity from the Perspective of Science Fiction

February 28, 2023

2:30am Virtual

2:30-4am PT
| 18:30-20:00 Beijing Time

Streaming Platforms

The parent-child/family relationship is one of the most important cornerstones of the human experience. However, it has undergone drastic changes in today’s era of technological revolution and social transformation. Its future is uncertain, and its impact on human society is far-reaching yet incalculable. Our speaker will first review the role that parent-child relationships have played in human evolution, then explore how parent-child relationships might unfold in the future through the imagination of science fiction, with the hope of inspiring new ideas in this dynamic issue.


• What is the significance of parent-child relationships in human evolution and what crises do they face?
• How are the possibilities of future parent-child relationships imagined and explored in science fiction?
• What can we derive from future parent-child relationships depicted in science fiction?

18:30-18:35: Opening Remarks
18:35-19:20: Presentation by Baoshu
19:20-20:00: Q&A


Science Fiction / Fantasy Writer; 2022-2023 Berggruen Fellow
Baoshu is a member of the Science Fiction Committee of China Writers Association, a member of the Science Fiction Subcommittee of the Science Popularization Writers Association, and an executive director of the World Chinese Science Fiction Association. Baoshu holds a bachelor’s degree from Peking University and a Master’s degree from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He is the author of five novels, including The Redemption of Time, Ruins of Time, and The Seven Kingdoms of the Galaxy. He has published short and medium-length works exceeding one million words, scattered in journals such as People’s Literature, Flower City, Science Fiction World, and Knowledge is Power, and has published six collections of short stories. He has won the Chinese Nebula Awards and Galaxy Awards multiple times. Many of his works are available in English, Japanese, Italian, German, Russian and other languages. He has edited Chinese sci-fi anthologies Chinese History in Science Fiction andGlory and Dreams: A Collection of Chinese Sports Science Fiction, and has translated What Does it All Mean, The Cold Equations, Star Maker, etc. As a 2022-2023 Berggruen Fellow, Baoshu aims to explore the changes in private life in the near future based on Chinese and foreign sci-fi cultural resources.


Fei Dao
Science Fiction Writer; Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University
Fei Dao is a science fiction writer and an assistant professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Tsinghua University. He holds a Ph.D in literature, and is the author of short story collections including Chinese Science Fiction Blockbuster and The Longest Way to Death. He has published an academic monograph “Modern” and “Unknown” – Research on Science Fiction in the Late Qing Dynasty.

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.