On Saturday, February 8, 2020, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at Colorado Law, the Leeds School of Business and Silicon Flatirons will host the fourth annual Interdisciplinary Ethics Tech Competition.  You may read about the 2019 competition here

Event Summary

Held annually, the Interdisciplinary Ethics Tech Competition gives students a chance to wrestle with a real-world ethics problem in collaboration with a diverse team of students studying law, business, communication, journalism, engineering, ITP, information science, or computer science.  Past case problems have featured a tech company grappling with ethical obligations related to its facial expression recognition product, and an online platform's efforts to address the challenges presented by 'fake news.'

The competition provides students with the unique opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team on a problem involving ethical, legal, business, technology, and privacy issues similar to what they are likely to encounter after graduation. This hands-on learning experience prepares students to collaborate effectively across disciplines in their careers, and positions students to be ethical members of business management teams.

Who May Participate

The competition is open to graduate students at the University of Colorado Boulder studying any relevant discipline, including law, business, communication, journalism, engineering, philosophy, ITP, information science, or computer science. 

Event Format

Participants are assigned to a team comprised of 3-4 students representing different areas of study to maximize the breadth of each team's knowledge and expertise.

Teams are given the case problem approximately two weeks before the competition date.   In the process of researching the problem and preparing a response, team members may meet as many times as they choose and may consult with outside professionals. Students prepare both a live presentation and a short, written executive summary of their recommendations.

On the day of the competition, each team presents its recommendations to panels of judges who are selected for their expertise in the relevant fields.

The five top-scoring teams from the initial rounds advance to the Finals Round, where the finalists give their presentations to a panel of judges, community members, and students in Wittemyer Courtroom. After the final presentations, a networking and awards luncheon is held for competition participants, where the winning teams are announced.

Highlights from the 2019 Competition

Ten student teams comprised of graduate students from a variety of disciplines wrestled with the ethical issues associated with data analytics as applied to facial expression recognition technologies.  The three highest-scoring teams were as follows:

  • 1st Place: Katja Edelman (Law), Emily Gibson (Law), Morgan Scheuerman (Information Science), and Ty Trejo (Law).
  • 2nd Place:  Christine Chang (Computer Science), Ryan Cooney (Law), Kimberly Cowan (Business), and Christopher McGillen (Law).
  • 3rd Place:  Brandon Moynihan (Business), Wilson Scarbeary (Law), and Daniel Sequeira (Law).
Highlights from the 2018 Competition

In the 2018 Competition, 16 student teams tackled the legal, ethical, technical, and business dimensions of a nuanced case problem concerning 'fake news' and an online platform's attempts to deal with and verify certain types of content. The three highest-scoring teams were as follows:

  • 1st Place: Nick Blodgett (law), Chris Bopp (information science), Colette Crouse (business), and Therese Fox (law).
  • 2nd Place: Andrew Fischer (law), Emely Garcia (law), Andi Savage (law), and David Smith (business).
  • 3rd Place: Elliott Browning (law), Slate Herman (law), Dillon Slagle (law), and Abhishek Varkhedi (ITP).
Thank you to all of our participants and volunteer judges!


Event Hosts

Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program logoSilicon Flatirons Logo

The Interdisciplinary Ethics Tech Competition is co-hosted by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at Colorado Law and the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with:

  • Leeds School of Business
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Interdisciplinary Telecom Program (ITP)
  • College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Department of Information Science