Joint Venture Case Studies

Case study: Technology use in schools

Discuss how best to educate today’s youth, considering both the benefits and liabilities of easy access to technology.

  • Should schools introduce computer tablets into the classroom, and if so, at what age?
  • What is the message when some of those most worried/concerned about exposing children to screens are those who work in the tech industry?
  • Is online preschool a good alternative to traditional preschools in rural areas?


“From the moment I met my mentee, I was impressed. His deep curiosity about so many subjects; his involvement in a wide variety of activities; his kind and respectful manner; and, of course, his love of Exeter made me proud to be an Exonian.”

— Catarina Schwab ’92, co-founder and co-CEO of NPX, a philanthropic and nonprofit financing outfit



“This course pushed me to want to enter Silicon Valley and focus on ethics, on changing technology to help users. This course has also influenced my decision to set screen-time limits and turn off notifications for all of my social media apps. I found my mentor not only very kind and fun to talk to, but also incredibly helpful.”

Toby Abelmann ’19

Case study: Image recognition

Examine the morality of current uses of image recognition and their potential discriminatory side effects, especially as it relates to incarceration, as well as the positive ramifications, including helping visually impaired persons.

  • Is it acceptable to use image recognition to automatically tag and share photos with friends?
  • Is it OK for law enforcement to use facial recognition to “pick out” the faces of criminals on surveillance feeds?
  • Would you want to use such technology to unlock your front door?



“I had a wonderful conversation with my mentor, not only about my case study, but also about the technology world in general.”

— Gracie Goodwin ’19



“Gracie shared several examples of ways that AI could be harmful or just plain scary. Through our conversations, I told her about instances where AI

can be helpful. I think she formed a more balanced picture of the good and bad that comes with any and every new technology. In turn, I got some very helpful

insight into how a high school senior perceives the technology being created by companies I [have] worked for over the past 10 years.”

Anna Richardson White ’98, brand communications director, Instagram

Case study: Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

CSR is a business model where companies choose to make a positive impact on society.

  • Does a private company have a duty to its community or only to its stockholders?
  • If an industry worsened a pre-existing social issue, is the industry responsible for helping to improve it?
  • Should the government mandate that the private sector employ CSR initiatives?

“It was great to reconnect with a younger generation of Exeter students, especially around real-world topics that affect my everyday life. It was interesting to hear how they thought about the issue from a student’s point of view versus how I felt about the same issue as a 40-yearold business owner working in tech.”

— John Griffin ’98, co-founder and CEO of enterprise web development company Spiral Scout


“Working with my mentor was one of the highlights of my Exeter academic experience. After I first emailed Mr. Griffin, he responded within hours, telling me that he would take a look at my ideas, but could only get back to me at the end of the week because he was on his honeymoon. The fact he took the time to respond to me on his honeymoon made me even more grateful to have the opportunity to work with someone so successful, who cared.”

Aarsh Kak 19

Case study: AI, discrimination and corporate liability

The power of artificial intelligence to make well-thought, instantaneous decisions can be harnessed to make our lives simpler and more efficient. However, in the process of seeking patterns and learning, machines may also learn to discriminate against people based on gender, race and socioeconomic class.

  • Should companies be responsible for the actions, crimes and offenses committed by the AI systems that they developed?
  • If they are oblivious to the potential impact of their creation, should they be held accountable?
  • Where do we draw the line between ill intention and ignorance?

“I really enjoyed brainstorming with Penny about the various angles on these ethical issues. I feel inspired that Exeter is instilling a new generation of leaders with a nuanced perspective on these complex and important issues.”

— Christine Robson Weaver ’99, project lead for Google’s Machine Learning Division

“Christine Robson Weaver is a walking representation of using knowledge for good, and I learned a lot from our exchanges. … When my mentor offered advice, it wasn’t imposing one’s opinion onto another — she was offering questions and directions, and it was up to me to find the answers. This approach enabled more individual thought and freedom in the assignment.”

— Penny Brant ’20