Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism

October 1, 2019

1pm Brookings Institution – Washington DC

A Partnership of Rivals – an excerpt from the main discussion:

The full Brookings Institution discussion:

To read a highlight of this conversation, please click here.

The rise of populism in the West and the rise of China in the East have stirred a debate about the role of democracy in the international system. The impact of globalization and digital capitalism is forcing worldwide attention to the starker divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” challenging how we think about the social contract. At a time when democracy is being tested internally and its role in the global order questioned, we must assess its current trajectory across regions and discuss the core challenges facing democracies in the West. Can civic participation and direct democracy be integrated into the system without empowering populism? How can governing systems in the West compete against China’s innovations and global ambitions? Can different systems of government co-exist in this age of globalization and integration, or are we facing a clash of systems?

On October 1, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings hosted Nathan Gardels and Nicolas Berggruen, authors of the new book “Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism,” to discuss these themes and present findings from their research on how democratic systems work — and how they fail. Following opening remarks by Brookings Vice President and Director Bruce Jones, Washington Columnist for The Boston Globe Indira Lakshmanan moderated a conversation with the authors. Questions from the audience followed the discussion.

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.