Lauren Wagner

Lauren Wagner

Entrepreneur, 2022-2023 Berggruen Fellow


Lauren Wagner is a Principal at Link Ventures where she invests in early-stage technology startups. She previously worked at Meta and Google in their New York and Bay Area offices bringing new products to market. At Meta, Lauren led product strategy and market adoption for the company’s transparency efforts. She developed the first APIs and data-sets for academics, which includes the largest study examining the impact of Facebook on the U.S. 2020 elections. Lauren also developed tools designed to counter misinformation, including fact-checking and crowdsourced content moderation. She spent 10 years prior to this at Google working on artificial intelligence, and with venture-backed startups and multinationals. Lauren holds a Master’s in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford, as well as a Master’s and Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. As a Berggruen Fellow, she will be researching the ‘Trust and Safety’ industry – people who ensure that users trust platforms and feel safe using them – to expand the dialogue around how to mitigate online harms and train the next generation of technologists to consider both the private and societal impact of their work.

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.