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DLI Affiliates Program

The Digital Life Initiative (DLI) was launched in 2017 to tackle the hardest ethical, political, and quality-of-life questions posed by digital technologies. Part of Cornell Tech in New York City, the DLI is fully integrated into the campus’s leading edge technology research, ambitious teaching environment, and meaningful local impact. From its position at the center of innovation, the DLI draws on core societal values of social justice, democracy, privacy, responsibility, security, and freedom to support collaborative research projects, create impactful policy, and train cohorts of emerging leaders in ethical technology.


The Digital Life Initiative’s (DLI) scholarship and influence thrives off strong engagement with industry partners. Leaders from industry, academia, nonprofit and government look to DLI for guidance on issues ranging from privacy and cybersecurity to AI ethics. We invite organizations from any field to join us as DLI Affiliates, supporting our mission to shape the future of digital societies by caring about its deep impacts on ethical and political values and the quality of life. Affiliation with DLI signals:


Commitment to Ethics: As the global mandate grows for organizations to attend to the ethical, legal, and social implications of their work, DLI seeks to develop the sorts of industrial partnerships that will help realize and put into practice ethical approaches to business, technology regulation, and technology design.


Connection with Leading Experts: DLI was founded by Dr. Helen Nissenbaum, a renowned ethicist and expert in privacy and security who invented the theory of contextual integrity, with a leadership team including Professors Karen Levy and James Grimmelmann. Their research and policy work has been covered by The New Yorker, CNN, The Washington Post, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and other media. Dr. Nissenbaum’s work has been absorbed at the highest levels of policy work around the world. 

Centrality of Research: DLI scholars engage in research at the forefront of academia and industry and across a variety of domains, such as privacy, AI, ML, automated decision-systems, big data, big platforms, media, social networks, workplace & robotics, automated weapons systems, cyber warfare, digital health & well-being, ethics & immersive technologies, and more. Explore some of our research projects here > 


Affiliates support DLI through annual donations of $25,000. Donations fund research and scholarship, collaborations with industry, and overall programmatic and operating expenses, such as: 

  • A multidisciplinary community of research fellows, faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and practitioners 

  • A rich array of publications about urgent topical areas, including leading edge academic research as well as public facing explanatory and opinion pieces 

  • Public-facing events, such as the weekly DLI seminar series 

  • Private convenings around complex societal issues and technical systems of relevance to the public and responsible industry actors


Affiliate Benefits

  • Invitations to affiliate-member workshops, webinars, and convenings 

  • Customized on-campus meeting with DLI faculty and researchers 

  • Facilitated interactions with industry peers around difficult common issues, with potential to lead the way toward principles of industry best practices 

  • Invitation to suggest specific research topics for consideration 

  • Opportunities to enter into separate sponsored research agreements 

  • Regular updates on DLI research and events 

  • Recognition on the DLI website

About Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech was conceived to serve as a new reservoir for engineering talent and ambition in NYC, and DLI is embedded in its inter-disciplinary environment, leveraging the deep technical strengths of its faculty and students. At Cornell Tech, we believe that rooting an initiative like DLI within engineering and technology is critical to promoting long term analyses and solutions. Explore more >

More Information on DLI Affiliates Program


Please contact: Allison Graf, Assistant Director of Development (amg277@cornell.edu)

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