Weiwen Duan

Weiwen Duan

Professor; 2020-2021 Berggruen China Center Fellow


Duan Weiwen is the Director and Professor of the Department of Philosophy of Science and Technology in the Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Duan also directs of the Research Center for Science, Technology and Society atCASS. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Central China Normal University, and a Master of Philosophy and PhD degree in Philosophy of Science and Technology from Renmin University of China. He specializes in philosophy of science and philosophy of information technology. His recent focus is on the philosophical, ethical and social research of big data and AI. He was a visiting scholar in Oxford University, Colorado School of Mines, and University of Pittsburgh. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society and Journal of Responsible Innovation, and he is one of the deputy chairmen of the Committee of Big Data Experts of China. He is the chief researcher of “Philosophical Studies on Intelligence Revolution and Deepening Techno-scientific of Human Being (2017-2022)”. He is the author of several books, including The Ethical Foundation of Information Civilization (2020, Shanghai People’s Press), Acceptable Science: Reflection on the Foundation of Contemporary Science (2014, Science and Technology Press of China), Ethical Reflection on Cyberspace (2002, Jiangsu People’s Publishing House), and Truss up Time: Technology and Life World (2001, Guangdong Education Publishing House), etc.

At Berggruen, Duan will focus on ethical issues around facial recognition technology development and implementation. He will approach the topic based on how China could learn from other societies’ attitudes on the technology, and based on China’s own cultural and philosophical background, he plans to lead the effort of drafting a comprehensive report. He works closely with academics and industries in the field.


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