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Cornell Tech’s Balancing Act Between Industry and Academia

Daniel Huttenlocher is one of Amazon.com’s 10 board directors and dean of Cornell University’s nascent, tech-focused graduate school in New York City—roles that give him a unique vantage point on technology companies’ influence. On one hand, he says companies like Amazon deserve the benefit of the doubt from critics who say they have too much power. But he also thinks tech companies need to better understand how their products “change the human condition.”

Those tensions between industry and society have helped shape Mr. Huttenlocher’s vision for Cornell Tech, which is trying to push the envelope in growing ties to industry while maintaining a commitment to research and teaching.

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Mr. Huttenlocher said the school isn’t wedded to one approach as it tries to rethink how universities, job creation and the social impact of technology interact. “These are things that we’re all struggling with. Nobody knows the answers, we don’t know the answers at Cornell Tech," he said. "But we have this amazing opportunity to be experimenting."

Mars Cyrillo commented on this article.
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