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Tanner Lectures

The Center for Ethics in Society collaborates with the Office of the President to host the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford.

The Tanner Lectures were established by the late American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner. In creating the lectureships, Tanner said, "I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behavior and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life."

Stanford is proud to be one of the nine distinguished universities to host the Tanner Lectures. The Tanner lectureships, which are comprised of annual lectures and seminars, are held at Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, the University of California and the University of Utah.

The purpose of the Tanner Lectures is to advance and reflect upon scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values. This intention embraces the entire range of values pertinent to the human condition, interest, behavior and aspiration. The lectures are published in an annual volume.

Appointment as a Tanner lecturer is in recognition for uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lecturers themselves come from the fields of philosophy, religion, the humanities, sciences, creative arts and learned professions — or from leadership in public or private affairs. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious and ideological distinctions. Past Tanner lecturers at Stanford include: Andrew Bacevich, Danielle Allen, Jared Diamond, Dorothy Allison, Paul Krugman, Mary Robinson, Harry Frankfurt, Avishai Margalit, David Brion Davis and Glenn Loury.

2022-2023 Tanner Lecture

Our 2022-2023 Tanner Lecture will be a special event entitled the "Tanner Lectures on AI and Human Values." The lectures will be given by Seth Lazar. Lazar is Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University, an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the University of Oxford Institute for Ethics in AI. At ANU, he was founding lead of the Humanising Machine Intelligence project, and recently launched the Machine Intelligence and Normative Theory (MINT) Lab, where he directs research projects on the moral and political philosophy of AI, funded by the ARC, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Insurance Australia Group. He is General Co-Chair for the ACM Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency conference 2022, was Program Co-Chair for the ACM/AAAI AI, Ethics and Society conference in 2021, and is one of the authors of a study by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, reporting to Congress on the ethics and governance of responsible computing research. He has given the Mala and Solomon Kamm lecture in Ethics at Harvard University, and has published articles and books with the world’s leading journals and presses on the ethics of war, the ethics of risk, and the moral and political philosophy of data and AI.

Professor Lazar's tenative topic is 'Governing the Algorithmic City.' Dates will be announced shortly.

This Tanner Lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

All Past Lectures