Tanner Lectures

The Tanner Lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner in 1978.  The purpose of the Tanner lectures is to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning related to human values.

In creating the lectureships, Professor 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 behaviour 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".

Appointment as a Tanner Lecturer is a recognition of uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the domain of human values. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious and ideological distinctions.

Clare Hall Tanner Lecture 2020

Gaining Power, Losing Control

Professor Jonathan L. Zittrain

George Bemis Professor of International Law, Harvard University, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Lecture 1 - Between Abdication and Suffocation: Three Eras of Governing Digital Platforms

Lecture 2 - With Great Power Comes Great Ignorance: What’s Wrong When Machine Learning Gets It Right

Jonathan Zittrain is the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Director of the Harvard Law School Library, and co-founder of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.  His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, human computing, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education. He is currently focused on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence and teaches a course on the topic. His book, The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It, predicted the end of general purpose client computing and the corresponding rise of new gatekeepers.  That and other works may be found here.

Tanner Lecture Respondents 2020

Dr Stephen Cave, Executive Director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge

Professor Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

Professor Sophia Roosth, Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University

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