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Ethical Tech Competition


In a memo, identify and propose a solution to an ethical problem in the area of emerging technology.

AWARD: Undergraduate Winner: $1,000; Graduate Winner: $1,000 |  Winning submissions will be posted on the Kenan Institute website.
LENGTH: 800 words
DEADLINE: Sunday, April 26, 11:59 PM
CONTACT: jeremy.buotte@duke.edu

Potential Topics:

Any ethical issue in emerging technology can be the topic of focus for the memo. Possible topics include:

  • algorithmic discrimination
  • cybersecurity and information security/data breaches
  • behavioral microtargeting and ad tech
  • regulation of autonomous vehicles
  • regulation of artificial intelligence and data governance
  • autonomous weapons
  • limiting encryption
  • censorship of the Internet or social media
  • foreign interference in elections and “fake news”
  • cybercrime and cyberwarfare
  • critical infrastructure
  • cyber attribution of cyber attacks
  • accuracy of predictive analytics
  • privacy enhancing technologies
  • algorithmic transparency and accountability
  • data ethics and cyber ethics
  • cyberbullying and cyberharassment
  • cyber diplomacy and Internet freedom
  • net neutrality
  • cybersurveillance

Additional Information:

Memos must include descriptive research and normative prescriptions for institutional responses or approaches. Citations must be in the form of links or in-text citations.

Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Ability to Identify and Articulate a Solution to an Emerging Tech Challenge;
  2. Consider Ethical, Social, and Practical Factors in Designing a Solution;
  3. Address Challenges with Implementation; and
  4. Clarity and Quality of Writing

Students may work in teams. Please note that awards will be equally split amongst team members.  


Merritt Baer

Merritt Baer is Principal Security Architect for Amazon Web Services (AWS). She is an emerging tech and infosec expert. She builds strategic initiatives for security and emerging technologies, including AWS’ Worldwide Rapid Prototyping.
Merritt is a double Harvard graduate with experience in all three branches of government and a strong publication record. She is a leader in computer security, an Internet law and business expert, and a technology entrepreneur.

Stuart Brotman

Stuart N. Brotman is currently serving as a Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program in Washington, DC. He is the Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the first-ever visiting professor of entertainment and media law at Harvard Law. He also was the first Harvard Law School faculty member to teach telecommunications law. He served as a faculty member in Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy, and in the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program. He held the first concurrent appointment in digital media at Harvard and MIT, respectively at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Program on Comparative Media Studies, and created the first study group on communications policymaking at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. Brotman also serves as an annual visiting lecturer in entertainment and media law at Stanford Law School.

Davi Ottenheimer

Davi in the last two years led development of client-side field-level encryption in a non-relational database. He brings 25+ years’ experience as a head of security and trust managing global security engineering, operations and assessments, and over a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. Davi has helped serve customer data protection needs across many industries including data storage and management, software, investment, banking, international retail, as well as higher education, healthcare and aerospace.

Ken Rogerson

Kenneth S. Rogerson is Professor of the Practice at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and former Research Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University. He is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for the Sanford Master’s of Public Policy Program and the Director of Duke’s Policy Journalism and Media Studies Certificate Program. He has served as chair of the American Political Science Association’s Information Technology and Politics Section and the International Studies Association’s International Communication Section.


Please email Jeremy Buotte (jeremy.buotte@duke.edu) with questions.