Preliminary Reading: The Investor Thesis
• From The Motley Fool: https://www.fool.com/investing/how-to-invest/investment-thesis/
• From Warren Buffet: https://www.investopedia.com/investing/warren-buffetts-investing-style-reviewed/
• From Needham and Co. "Q2 Review: Wix.com' pdf
TIME COMMITMENT: We expect students to spend roughly 3 hours a week reading, writing, thinking, and discussing. There is 1 required meeting per week and several optional opportunities to further engage the material, our team, and operations.
OPPORTUNITY: We offer this internship in both a paid and unpaid form. This listing is for 2 paid opportunities. We offer a $500 stipend for completing 12 weeks. Students will produce a high-quality report on the state of innovation in our economy with proscriptions for future development. Papers will be published on our blog.
Ideatrek invests in early-stage companies focused on innovation. As part of our investment process, we explore whether companies count as being innovative, whether the people running the companies should be innovating, and we constantly critique the value of innovation. That is, our investment thesis is grounded in a moral critique of technology and society. Our internship exposes students to this process culminating in them writing their own investment thesis addressing these same questions. Students may use their work to help them raise their own fund with limited partners, contribute to our work, or take their experience to whatever career they embark on afterward.
Below is a list of readings and concepts we are currently exploring as we evaluate prospective investments. The internship requires students to meet with us once a week to review some readings and share their progress in writing their essays. While this work takes the form of a course, they will be working with members of our team who are sourcing and evaluating early-stage companies from a moral perspective.
Students interested in purely technical evaluations will not receive the kinds of experience valued by typical venture capital or private equity funds hiring analysts. Instead, we are looking for students who want to raise and manage their own fund OR who feel that exploring innovation ethics will be helpful as they navigate their careers.
We expect to select up to 10 students and have some funds available to provide stipends in special circumstances. Students have received college credit for participating in this internship, but coordination with academic departments is not required. We do not charge fees to students to participate in this internship, and students who do not receive stipends are invited to participate as unpaid interns.
Roger Hunt, Principal @ Idea Trek LLC
Marc Anderson, AI Ethicist @ Loria Laboratories at The University of Lorraine
This internship examines ethical issues related to technology with Dr. Marc Anderson and Mr. Roger Hunt. We will consider the moral dimensions present in the day-to-day life of technical workers, corporate decision-making, and global values. The first part of the course is a survey of the history of innovation principles and contemporary trends. The second part of the course will consider current EU AI Ethics guidelines and AI in the context of heavy industry, along with exploring the history and ethical significance of some of the contemporary trends in AI development. Participants will complete a research paper designed to be the basis for an investor thesis, presuming they wish to raise a fund to support early-stage, innovative companies. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will earn a letter of recommendation from our staff and publication of their work on our blog. Some students may elect to continue with the program and join our investor community to source and manage prospective opportunities. We will offer stipends as needed at the discretion of the Ideatrek team.
• Gain an introductory understanding of value-based ethics
• Gain an understanding of technology as a communal process founded on
diverse sources, including the natural world and human organization
• Be able to identify the major ethical issues related to artificial intelligence
development and use
• Gain an overview of several current policy guidelines which will influence AI
development, particularly for business (e.g. European GDPR & EU Guidelines
for Trustworthy AI)
• Be able to identify ethical issues related to artificial intelligence in the industry at
the shop-floor worker level
• Gain exposure to some methods of engaging ethical issues with specific
ethical recommendations based on examination of the context
PART 1: Innovation Ethics
• Śledzik, Karol. (2013). Schumpeter’s View on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. SSRN Electronic Journal. 10.2139/ssrn.2257783
• Harwood, J. (2011-11-01). The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976. : University of Minnesota Press
• Nooney, Laine. “How the Personal Computer Broke the Human Body” Vice.
• Don Ihde. 2017. Postphenomenology and Technoscience: The Peking University Lectures. State University of New York Press.
• Christensen and Bower, Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, https://hbr.org/1995/01/disruptive-technologies-catching-the-wave
• Jill Lepore, "What the Theory of 'Disruptive Innovation' Gets Wrong", The New Yorker, June 23, 2014.
PART 2: AI Ethics in Practice
• Latour, Bruno. “The End of Means.” Theory, Culture & Society 2002 (SAGE,
London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), Vol. 19(5/6): 247–260
• Kazim, Emre & Adriano Soares Koshiyama, “A high-level overview of AI
• Mittlestadt, Brent. “Principles alone cannot guarantee ethical AI” (2019)
• Govaere, Virginie, et al. “Automation and complacency: Insights from a
planning task in the transportation domain” International Conference on Human-
Computer Interaction. Springer. (2018)
• Green, Ben. “The Flaws of Policies Requiring Human Oversight of
Government Algorithms” (2021)
• Goode, JP. “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Nationalism” (2021)
• Anderson, Marc M. Hyperthematics: The Logic of Value. (SUNY, 2019)
Innovation Ethics/Investor Thesis Questions
What counts as innovation?
Who should be innovating?
How should we value innovations?