“Renewing Democracy in the Digital Age” Report Launch

March 2, 2020

6pm London

King’s College, Great Hall, Strand Campus
London, WC2R 2LS

6:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Join us for the official launch of the Berggruen Institute’s latest report, “Renewing Democracy in the Digital Age.” The panel discussion will focus on the philosophical frameworks and practical applications that policymakers and citizens alike can adopt and adapt in their national and local contexts to strengthen democracy. The project co-chairs will explore how democracies can rise to the great challenges of the 21st century to ensure that their citizens, and indeed all peoples, can benefit from inclusive growth, sustainable development, and a more peaceful and prosperous political order.

About the Project
Since September of 2016, the Berggruen Institute has been engaged in a series of high-level, off-the-record symposia on democratic renewal as part of its Future of Democracy Program. Symposia have taken place in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy, with further consultations taking place in France, Germany, Sweden, Portugal, and elsewhere. Participants have represented nationalities from across Europe, North America, and beyond. These convenings have involved structured conversations aimed at both surfacing the challenges and opportunities of current democratic systems as well as imagining and defining pathways of reform. Participants have included political leaders, policymakers, technologists, business leaders, journalists, political scientists, sociologists, philosophers, philanthropists, artists, and activists. Furthermore, public polling and research has been conducted through the program in key countries in Europe and North America.

The origin of the project emerged from a simple insight: democratic governments had failed to keep pace with—and effectively manage—the rate and global scale of change in their societies and were in need of a significant overhaul to govern effectively in the 21st century. As the democratic crisis has intensified, the program has focused its work in three areas: (1) renewing social cohesion, (2) rebuilding the public square in the digital age, and (3) renovating democratic institutions. These areas were chosen because we believe that together they represent among the most important—and the most challenged—systems of democratic society, and those where opportunities for experimentation and new policy are most immediate.

For more information on the project please click here.

About the Speakers:

Anthony Giddens – A British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of over 30 books, published in at least 29 languages, issuing on average more than one book every year. In 2007, Giddens was listed as the fifth most-referenced author of books in the humanities.
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Helle Thorning-Schmidt – As the Prime Minister of Denmark, she led a coalition government from 2011 until 2015, successfully steering Denmark through a difficult period of transition after the global financial crisis. Prior to her time as Prime Minister, Helle was member of Danish Parliament and the Leader of the Social Democratic Party for 10 years. As CEO of Save the Children International, Helle oversees humanitarian and development programs that reach 55 million children in around 120 countries. Save the Children has 25,000 staff, working in some of the most difficult and challenging contexts in the world, and an annual budget of over 2 billion USD. Helle joined Save the Children International after a career of public service.
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Nathan Gardels – Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of The WorldPost, co-founder and a senior adviser to the Berggruen Institute. He has been editor of New Perspectives Quarterly since it began publishing in 1985. He has served as editor of Global Viewpoint and Nobel Laureates Plus (services of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media) since 1989. These services have a worldwide readership of 35 million in 15 languages.
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William Perrin is a former UK government Policy Advisor on media policy, Founder of now-closed grass roots journalism startup Talk About Local and now trustee of several major charities active in the digital sphere in the United Kingdom, Africa, and Australia; such as Good Things Foundation, Good Things Foundation Australia, Carnegie UK Trust, Indigo Trust, 360Giving and The Philanthropy Workshop.
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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.

RAVE (IRCAM 2021) https://github.com/acids-ircam/RAVE