U-M hosts Eric Horvitz for Obert C. Tanner Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and Human Values

Microsoft Chief Scientific Officer Eric Horvitz’ lecture was hosted in partnership with Michigan Engineering. U-M is one of nine institutions worldwide that hosts an annual Tanner Lecture on Human Values.
Eric Horvitz

The University of Michigan is one of nine institutions worldwide that hosts an annual Tanner Lecture on Human Values. On November 2–3, 2022, the U-M Tanner Lecture was on Artificial Intelligence and Human Values.

On November 2, Microsoft Chief Scientific Officer Eric Horvitz gave a keynote lecture entitled, “Arc of Intelligence: Humanity and its Tools of Reason and Imagination.” Horvitz was introduced by U-M President Santa Ono.

On November 3, a panel discussion was held on AI and human values. Introduced by Alec Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the panel was moderated by Benjamin Kuipers, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

In his lecture, Horvitz explored these questions and more, tracing the arc of intelligence from its origins and evolution in humans, to its manifestations and prospects in the tools we create and use. Along this arc, he highlighted several key milestones and recent breakthroughs in AI that have enabled new tools and deeper understandings of the computational foundations of intelligence. He additionally emphasized the importance and potential of creating and applying AI systems that can collaborate closely with people and highlight directions forward with examples of systems that leverage, complement, and augment human capabilities.

His talk also addressed challenges and opportunities ahead, as we develop and deploy powerful AI tools that will extend our reasoning and imagination in new ways. Horvitz makes the case that this is a pivotal moment to engage in a cross-sector dialogue about the development, use, and governance of AI technologies to ensure that they reflect and respect our values and aspirations as individuals and society.

About the event, Horvitz said, “What an inspiring and enlightening experience it was to spend two days with such a remarkable community of faculty, students, and staff… I thank [Dean Gallimore] the School of Engineering for hosting the Tanner Lecture series and for inviting me to be part of it. I was impressed by the quality and diversity of the students who attended the lecture and the symposium.”

Moderated by Benjamin Kuipers, the panel on artificial intelligence and human values included:

Peter Railton

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, John Stephenson Perrin Professor, and Professor of Philosophy in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Rada Mihalcea

Janice M. Jenkins Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Michigan Engineering.

Richard Lewis

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, John R. Anderson Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Cognitive Science, Director Academic Program, Linguistics: Weinberg ICS, Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Linguistics, in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Tanner Lectures are funded through the generosity of the late University of Utah Professor of Philosophy, industrialist, and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner, and his wife, Grace Tanner. Although the Tanners established the supporting endowment in 1978, Joel Feinberg’s April 1977 lecture at U-M inaugurated the international series of Tanner Lectures. Each year, U-M has a Tanner Lecture combined with an interdisciplinary symposium to which we invite distinguished scholars from around the world.
The lecture and following panel are available for public view on YouTube.