Steven Weber

Steven Weber

Political Scientist; 2019-2020 Berggruen Fellow


Steven Weber is Professor at the School of Information and Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley. He is also the Faculty Director of the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity, a large-scale multi-disciplinary research program on emerging cybersecurity issues at the intersection of new technologies, human behavior, and risk calculations made by firms and governments; and one of the founders and co-directors of Bridging the Gap, a 15 year initiative devoted to enhancing the policy impact of international affairs scholarship. His research focuses on the political economy of knowledge-intensive industries with special attention to digital technologies and national competitiveness. His best known book, The Success of Open Source, was one of the first extensive studies of how the open source software community works.  His forthcoming book Bloc by Bloc:  How to Organize a Global Enterprise (Fall 2019) explains how economic geography is evolving around machine learning, and the consequences for multinational organizations in the post financial crisis world. At Berggruen, Steve will work on a collaborative project to develop a 21st century-appropriate roadmap for constructing an international architecture to advance global liberalism.

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.