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SSU 112 — Stanford Saturday University: 2020

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Apr 18
Time: 8:45 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 11
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $150
Status: Open
8:45 am—4:00 pm
Apr 18
1 day
Drop By
Apr 11
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
We are pleased to host our tenth annual Saturday University, and look forward to a day of shared intellectual stimulation featuring some of Stanford’s most engaging faculty. We’ll start the day with coffee and muffins, followed by two morning “classes”—inspiring lectures and open conversations with the audience. We’ll break for a box lunch, and then return in the afternoon for two more sessions. In the past, Saturday Universities have drawn two to three hundred participants, and everybody has gone away at the end of the day feeling intellectually invigorated. We are confident that this year’s lineup will be as exhilarating. Please join us.


Welcome, Refreshments, and Check-In: 8:45 am

Opening Remarks: 9:15 am
Charles Junkerman, Dean of Stanford Continuing Studies (1999–2018)

Session 1: 9:30 – 10:40 am
Climate Change: Accelerating the Search for Solutions

As the dire impacts of global climate change become ever more obvious and alarming, technological solutions are fortunately growing more mature, affordable, and practical. But they are still being deployed far too slowly. This talk will examine how leveling the economic playing field, investments by government, and novel mechanisms to spur international collaboration can accelerate progress—and perhaps avert the cataclysmic consequences of climate disruption.

Chris Field, Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Stanford; Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Chris Field is an internationally influential environmental scientist who served as co-chair of Working Group II of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2008-2015). His widely cited work has received many recognitions, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Research Award, and the Roger Revelle Medal. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the Ecological Society of America.

Session 2: 10:50 am – 12:00 pm
How to Lead the Good Life: Lessons from the Greeks

In this lecture, we will explore five proposals from the ancient Greeks on how to live a good life. We might be as surprised by the way they framed their questions as we are challenged by their profound answers. How can Socrates argue that no one does harm voluntarily? What does Plato mean by telling us that we might achieve perfection by developing a sense of “tableness”? Why does Aristotle say that every right action is on a sliding scale of relativism? How can the Epicureans insist that we dismiss all fear of death through a belief in atomism? And why do the Stoics illustrate the connection of fate and free will with a picture of a horse, a cart, and a dog? As we move from one magnificent vision of “the good life” to the next, we might find ourselves pledging our total allegiance to each one in turn.

Marsh McCall, Professor of Classics, Emeritus; Founding Dean of Stanford Continuing Studies

Marsh McCall has been on the Stanford faculty since 1976. He has served as chair of the Classics department, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Chairman of the Western Culture program, and was the founding Dean of Stanford Continuing Studies. He is the recipient of numerous Stanford awards including the Dinkelspiel Award, the Richard W. Lyman Award, the Phi Beta Kappa Teacher of the Year award, and the School of Humanities & Sciences Lifetime Teaching Award.

Lunch: 12:00 – 1:20 pm

Session 3: 1:30 – 2:40 pm
Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to affect everything we do, bringing about changes at least as significant as the Industrial Revolution. How can we guarantee that AI technology has a net positive impact on humans and society? To address this question, Stanford recently launched a major institute for human-centered AI. What is human-centered AI? And what is the new institute doing to help guide the technology?

John Etchemendy, Patrick Suppes Family Professor; Professor of Philosophy; Provost Emeritus; Co-Director, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

John Etchemendy has been on the Stanford faculty since 1983, and is a founding faculty member of the Symbolic Systems Program, a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, and co-director of the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute. He is the author of seven books and numerous articles on logic. Between 2000 and 2017, Etchemendy was Stanford’s Provost, the longest-serving provost in the university's history.

Session 4: 2:50 – 4:00 pm
Net Neutrality: The Battle to Keep the Internet Open and Free

It’s easy to take for granted that we can use the websites and apps of our choice—or that anyone, with just a few dollars, can start a website that’s accessible to everyone on the internet. That’s thanks to net neutrality, the long-standing principle that we decide how we use the internet, not the companies we pay to get online. But in 2017, the FCC made a radical decision to eliminate all net neutrality protections. In this talk, we will explore what net neutrality is, why it matters for innovation and free speech, and where we are in the fight to restore strong protections in the US.

Barbara van Schewick, Professor of Law, Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar, and Director of the Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School; Professor, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering, Stanford

Barbara van Schewick's research on the economic, regulatory, and strategic implications of communication networks bridges law, networking, and economics. Her book Internet Architecture and Innovation is considered the seminal work on the science, economics, and policy of network neutrality. Her work has shaped net neutrality protections in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and she was the lead expert on California’s landmark 2018 net neutrality law.