In 2012, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) launched the Annual SNF International Conference on Philanthropy which has taken place ever since every June in Greece. The conference has brought together internationally renowned speakers from the fields of academia and science, as well as representatives of other foundations and institutions. The aim of the conference has been to present best practices, and become the ground for the exchange of ideas and discussion on the developments within the wider field of philanthropy. Each year’s theme has varied depending on current challenges, keeping at its core the four program areas of the Foundation: Arts and Culture, Education, Health and Sports, and Social Welfare. The conference is addressed to representatives of other foundations, nonprofit organizations and institutions, as well as to all those who are interested in the role of philanthropy and social giving.

The conference has debated and examined a variety of critical topics, such as the economic crisis, the emergence of a social welfare society, ethics, the significance of creative assets, sustainability, the local and global consequences of the refugee crisis, the importance of ethical public spaces, the impact of polarization, and disruption. The conference has been attracting participants that transcend the defined boundaries of the philanthropy sector, inducing in us the need and desire to reach further out and explore broader themes, to open ourselves up and pose broad, critical, and all encompassing questions, keeping in mind, at the same time, the Foundation’s core activities.

The 9th SNF Conference, dedicated to Humanity and Artificial Intelligence, is scheduled to take part on June 22nd and June 23rd, 2020 as part of the 2020 Summer Nostos Festival (June 21st to June 28th, 2020), organized by the SNF, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.

Every new technology we develop brings not only scientific discovery, but ethical discovery. From the alphabet to the telescope, from the internet to the gene sequencer, every new invention recasts our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world, and provokes new answers to the eternal question: how, then, shall we live?

As John Culkin put it simply: “we shape our tools; thereafter, they shape us.” It follows that ever-more powerful tools shape us in ever-more powerful ways – and few, if any, are as powerful as one of our newest tools, artificial intelligence.

As longstanding dreams of AI become reality, they will touch every part of the human experience. And so, we ask: How will AI reshape what it means to be human in the decades to come? Can we place AI’s power in the service of all? Will AI liberate us from the drudgery of needless labor? Or will it further enrich a few at the expense of the many? How will AI augment humanity’s thinking and creativity? How will AI reshape law, medicine, the arts, and the body politic? How might we use AI to solve our most pressing planetary needs? Are our institutions strong enough to govern this new super power? How can we keep AI from learning the wrong lessons about us? And how might AI and humanity ultimately co-evolve together?

On June 22-23, 2020, in Athens, Greece, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will bring together a carefully chosen network of AI innovators, leaders, critics, iconoclasts, artists, and experts in law, medicine, science and the humanities drawn from around the world, for an unconventional dialogue about AI – one that puts humanity at the center. We’ll ask questions from many perspectives and disciplines, to expand the usual dialogue on what may yet be humanity’s most powerful creation.

Detailed information on registering for the SNF conference will soon be available.