Tacitus Lecture 2018

The 2018 Tacitus Lecture took place on 22 February 2018, entitled ‘Cyber-Trade: Will AI Displace or Enhance our Work?’ and was delivered by Nathan Myhrvold PhD, formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, Co-Founder of Intellectual Ventures and the principal author of Modernist Cuisine.

One of the world’s great polymaths, Myhrvold was born in Seattle, Washington with an education and research record spanning UCLA, Princeton University and Cambridge University in subjects relating to theoretical and mathematical physics.

Intellectual Ventures is a patent portfolio development and broking company in the areas of technology and energy which has acquired over 30,000 patents. He is also the founder of Terra Power, which aims to develop a nuclear reactor that is ‘safe and cheap’, as part of Bill Gates’ strategy to reach the goal of zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.

Myhrvold is a prize-winning nature and wildlife photographer and an accomplished and innovative chef. He has a culinary diploma from Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne and is the principal author of Modernist Cuisine, which applies scientific research principles and new techniques to cooking.

Tacitus Lecture 2018 Sponsors


Mrs Wendy Drew, Platinum Sponsor

Wendy is the widow of The Worshipful Company of World Traders’ Founding Master, Mr Peter Drew OBE who passed away in 2007. Wendy feels that sponsorship of the Tacitus is a fitting tribute to Peter who was passionate about World Trade and also about the Lecture.

The Cardano Foundation, Platinum Sponsor

The Cardano Foundation is a blockchain and cryptocurrency organisation based in Zug, Switzerland. The foundation is dedicated to act as an objective, supervisory and educational body for the Cardano Protocol and its associated ecosystem, and to serve the Cardano community by creating an environment where advocates can aggregate and collaborate. The Foundation aims to influence and progress the emerging commercial and legislative landscape for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Its strategy is to proactively approach government and regulatory bodies and to form strategic partnerships with businesses, enterprises and other open source projects. The foundation’s core mission is to “standardise, protect and promote” the Cardano Protocol technology.

Dascoin, Platinum Sponsor

Dascoin is the store of value in a powerful, co-operative ecosystem – DasEcosystem. An alliance of entities and technologies built on a world-class hardware infrastructure, proprietary blockchain technology, a decentralised, user friendly wallet system and a regulation-friendly global network of KYC authenticated users.

Aon, Gold Sponsor

Aon is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Aon employs 50,000 staff in over 120 countries and has a strong presence in the City of London and the United Kingdom.

Lloyd’s Register, Silver Sponsor

Lloyd’s Register is a highly regarded organisation with an extensive involvement in world trade. Founded in 1760 as a marine classification society, today Lloyd’s Register is one of the world’s leading providers of professional services for engineering and technology – improving safety and increasing the performance of critical infrastructures for clients in over 75 countries worldwide. The profits generated fund the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charity which supports engineering-related research, education and public engagement around all Lloyd’s Register activities and supports its vision: working together for a safer world.

Beaufort Securities, Bronze Sponsor

Beaufort Securities is an award-winning stockbroker incorporated a quarter of a century ago.

Tacitus Lecture 2018 Funders

We are delighted that Commercial Education Trust has once again kindly offered to help fund the Tacitus Lecture at a level equivalent with Gold sponsorship. CET does excellent work in helping students and adults improve their understanding of commercial life and we are so pleased that they remain involved with Tacitus.

About The Tacitus Lecture

The World Traders’ Tacitus Lecture was inaugurated in 1988 and is now believed to be the largest event of its type in the City of London. It is held annually and provides the Company with an opportunity to demonstrate to a wider audience its concern with issues affecting world trade.

It takes its name from the Roman senator Publius Cornelius Tacitus who was born in about AD 56 and may have survived the emperor Trajan who died in AD 117. His Roman education, with its elaborate series of exercises in different kinds of public speaking, turned him into an impressive and famous orator, and one of the extant works attributed to him, the “Dialogue on Orators”, is a discussion of oratorial style. It was Tacitus who, in his Life of Agricola, described ‘Londinium’ as “a town of highest repute and a busy emporium for trade and traders”. Agricola, who was the Governor of Roman Britain, was also the father-in-law of Tacitus.

This notable event has attracted important speakers of prestige and distinction in diverse fields concerned with world trade.

Future Tacitus Lecture Dates

Thursday 28 February, 2019
Thursday 27 February, 2020
Thursday 25 February, 2021


Past Lectures

Notes, and in many cases videos and transcripts of past lectures, can be viewed here.