Berggruen Institute Names Dr. Nils Gilman as Vice President for Programs

Rachel S. Bauch


Rachel Bauch, Berggruen Institute; (323) 841-4139

Craig Calhoun, President of Berggruen Institute, today announced that Dr. Nils Gilman, the prominent author, scholar and executive, will become the Institute’s first Vice President for Programs.

“Dr. Gilman is an original thinker, a serious researcher, and a talented organizational leader,” Dr. Calhoun said. “He is the ideal leader to help advance Berggruen Institute’s passion for ideas and its determination to have a positive impact on governance and public policy.”

Working closely with the President at Berggruen Institute, Dr. Gilman will lead a growing team in developing programs that enhance understanding of the great present-day transformations in the human condition and the ethical choices and social challenges they pose. Dr. Gilman will also conduct his own research and writing as it supports the mission of the Institute.

“The Berggruen Institute has a unique agenda-setting opportunity,” Dr. Gilman said. “In just a short time, the Institute has established itself as a place where important ideas about governance and society at all levels are coupled with strategic action that aims to transform society for the better. I am honored by the chance to help shape the Institute’s intellectual and policy endeavors.”

Dr. Gilman joins Berggruen Institute from University of California, Berkeley, where he served for three years as Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff to Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. He is the author of Mandarins of the Future (on American policy intellectuals during the Cold War). He is also the editor of the books Deviant Globalization (on black market economies) and Staging Growth (on development policy) and has written widely on technology, politics, and social change. Prior to becoming Associate Chancellor, Dr. Gilman was Executive Director of UC Berkeley’s Social Science Matrix, an integrative social science research institute. From 2006 to 2014 Dr. Gilman worked as a business consultant, beginning at Global Business Network (GBN), which was acquired by the Monitor Group and then Deloitte, in a unit focused on long-term geostrategic futures. He has also worked extensively in the software industry, notably at Salesforce and BEA Systems. For the last ten years he has been co-editor of the scholarly journal Humanity.

Dr. Gilman has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in History from UC Berkeley. His focus is on the intellectual history and political economy of the United States, late modern Europe, and the global south.

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.