Berggruen Institute Launches Democracy for the Digital Society Project in Meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

On September 15, the Berggruen Institute launched the Democracy for the Digital Society project in a meeting that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The launch took place in the context of the Global Progress Summit being held by Canada 2020 in Montreal, Canada. 


The launch involved key members of the project’s Patrons group including Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, Ben Rattray, Alec Ross and the President Toomas Ilves, former president of Estonia who will head the commission for the project. The group discussed how digital technology produces both opportunities and consequences for democracies and how governments might manage them. Of key concern is the level of misinformation and the tone of the political dialogue in contemporary politics. 


The meeting was an important moment marking the starting point of a two year effort to develop a tool kit for managing democracy in the digital age. The project team, which includes Dawn Nakagawa, Matt Browne, Ariel Ratner and Ola Tjornbo, will study political innovations that are working to deepen citizen engagement and restore trust and develop tools through pilot projects in various contexts. Current plans are underway to develop pilot projects in Italy, Canada and the City of London. 

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.