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june

Message from the Editor

Heather Love, Editor, IEEE SSIT Newsletter

I am pleased to present the June 2017 SSIT newsletter, which features a few important additions to the regular line-up of conference and publication announcements. This month, our ongoing "Volunteer Introductions" segment features the Committee Chairs who are leading SSIT's initiatives related to "Protecting the Planet-Sustainable Technology," "Women in Engineering," and "Young Professionals and Students." I hope that their statements will inspire many of you to answer the "Calls for Volunteers" outlined below in the "Message from the President!" In addition, this month's "Feature Article" offers the first installment of the "Ethical Dilemma" series that we hope will become a regular component of upcoming newsletters: SSIT's John Impagliazzo reflects on the ethical conundrum he faced as a young employee working in military research and development.

As always, if you have a news item, SSIT-related update, volunteer opportunity, CFP, award notice, or idea for a "Feature Article," please contact me at Heather.Love@usd.edu. Submissions for the July 2017 newsletter are due by 24 June 2017.

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Message from the President

Paul Cunningham, President, IEEE SSIT

I will keep this month's message brief, with a simple reminder to please encourage respected peers to join SSIT and consider volunteering with our organization. You can let them know that half-year membership rates are still in effect (US$16.50 or US$2 for Student members). This is a fabulous opportunity to join our vibrant, growing, global community! If there is no SSIT Chapter or SSIT Student Chapter near you, let us know if you would like support to establish a new one.

Our core SSIT committees are making good progress developing new Position Statements that will guide our activities. However, we will need active volunteer participation across our student, young professional, senior, fellow, and life members to ensure strong global representation as we move forward. Which SSIT Pillars and communities are most closely aligned with your work?
  • SSIT Pillar 1: Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Technology
  • SSIT Pillar 2: Ethics, Human Values and Technology
  • SSIT Pillar 3: Societal Impact of Technology
  • SSIT Pillar 4: Universal Access to Technology
  • SSIT Pillar 5: Protecting the Planet - Sustainable Technology
  • Young Professionals and Students
  • Women in Engineering
If you are interested in contributing to one of these committees or would like to nominate your colleagues, please contact me at pcunningham@ieee.org, with the email subject: SSIT Committee-"committee of interest." You can help me point you in the right direction by briefly describing your previous activities and track record in this field, your location (city, Chapter, Section), and some insight into the contribution you believe you can make. A responsible volunteer will follow up with you.

As always, I encourage all SSIT members to submit their details to our volunteer directory at our website.

Call for Volunteers: Media Preparation Team


Following the highly innovative and successful SSIT conference on "Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century," which was held in Melbourne in 2016, we are now looking for a team to assemble the conference presentations for the conference website. This promises to be an exciting project, focused on drawing together speakers and debates and presenting them to an international web audience.

If you have experience preparing online media and would like to lead or assist with this activity, or if you want to develop your skills in this area, please contact Greg Adamson, g.adamson@ieee.org. We invite prospective volunteers to view an example of the 2014 Boston conference presentations at our website.

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We are pleased to continue our series of SSIT introductions this month with three more of the fantastic volunteers who are leading SSIT's core committees.

SSIT Pillar 5: Protecting the Planet - Sustainable Technology
Committee Chair: Michael Cardinale

My name is Michael Cardinale; I live in Leland, NC, USA and am a member of the IEEE Eastern North Carolina Section. I worked over thirty-five years as a scientist, engineer and engineering manager, and I am now retired. During my career, I managed a corporate engineering program, and I primarily developed and integrated communications, navigation, countermeasures, infrared/electro-optical (IR/EO), radar and acoustic systems for the US military and civilian police. From 2006 until retirement in 2015, I worked for the US Department of Defense as a physical scientist and project manager developing acoustic, radio frequency and IR/EO systems and sensors, and assessing systems vulnerabilities.

Being involved in systems development, it became obvious to me that the world's ability to acquire scientific knowledge, and to engineer systems far outstrips our ability to deal with the changes and to understand the impacts of technical invention and innovation. I believe this problem is a general systems problem. For these reasons, I have been a continuous member of the Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) and the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) since 1987. I have served in numerous leadership and support roles at Chapter, Section, and Society levels.

I look forward to mobilizing this range of experience as the chair of SSIT Pillar 5: "Saving the Planet-Sustainable Technology." I believe success will depend on education, both within the science and engineering curricula and of the public, the participation of experts from the various IEEE technical societies and external technical organizations, social impact data (facts), and international legal agreement and action. I hope to bring expertise in these areas to the committee and to marshal efforts to move forward saving the planet.


Women in Engineering
Committee Chair: Ramalatha Marimuthu

I am Ramalatha Marimuthu, Senior member of IEEE under Madras Section, India (Region 10), and am currently on the Board of Governors of SSIT. I am with Kumaragauru College of Technology, an autonomous institution under Anna University.

An Eta Kappa Nu member with thirty years of teaching, I love working with students, instilling social responsibility and ethics in them. My unique SS12 Asia International Student Project Competition and Maker Fair have gained vast popularity providing a platform for students to try their hands in solving global issues aligning with the goals of SSIT. Furthermore, I am the Chair of Chapters and a Distinguished Lecturer of SSIT and have delivered lectures in more than twenty universities all over the world. My area of research is Assistive Technology and I specialize in developing gadgets for people with special needs. To that end, I have given invited speeches on the projects I develop at companies like Google and research laboratories around the world who are working in the domain.

My most relevant work for this SSIT position began when I founded Madras IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) in 2005. Since then, I have served as Regional WIE Chair (2008-2010) and the Chair of WIE International Committee (2011-2012), introducing many novel policies and activities which resulted in very high visibility for WIE. My work towards empowering women and promoting social inclusion of the underserved community has gained me many awards from IEEE, the Tamil Nadu Government, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and Lions Club International. I serve on many women-focused committees and have contributed to the book Internet of Women. I hope to enhance the participation of women in SSIT by celebrating their achievements and supporting their endeavors through dedicated efforts of the SSIT WIE subcommittee.


Young Professionals and Students
Committee Chair: Almedin Kavaz

I was born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in 2016 I earned my Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Department for Electric Power Engineering at the University of Sarajevo. During my studies, I have been a very active IEEE member, serving in roles that range from Membership Development Officer and Student Branch Chairman to leadership positions in the Young Professionals AG Bosnia and Herzegovina section, for which I have been chair for the last 13 months. In 2017, I have also been an IEEE Region 8 Young Professionals Subcommittee member and SSIT Students and Young Professionals Subcommittee Chair. I currently work for Energoinvest d.d., a multidisciplinary engineering company with dominant export orientation.





The following upcoming conferences should be of interest to many SSIT members:

Persuasive Technology and Society Workshop
8 August 2017, Wollongong, Australia


The Centre for Persuasive Technology and Society is a newly formed centre in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong. Directed by Dr. Khin Than Win (MBBS, PhD), the center will be hosting its first workshop on its research vision and current projects. Highlights from the workshop program include the following two keynote addresses: Additional information is available at the workshop website. The event will be held at the University of Wollongong, Gwynneville, Australia. If you would like to participate, please contact katina@uow.edu.au. There is no charge for this event.


Biometrics at the Border
9 August 2017, Wollongong, Australia


"Biometrics at the Border" is the theme of the Tenth Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security (SINS17). Participants will hear a range of speakers from academia, industry and government present on pertinent topics related to how biometrics are being implemented for border control in Australia and internationally. Discussions will cover incremental technology innovation, social implications for citizenry, security and privacy challenges related to the implementation of biometric systems, changes to regulation and legislation, and government policy.

For additional information, visit the workshop website. The event will be held at the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, Gateway Building, Level 8 and 9, 1 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay, NSW 2000 Australia. Anyone wishing to participate or express an interest in presenting should contact katina@uow.edu.au. There is no charge for this event.


IEEE 2017 International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS 2017)
9-11 August 2017, Sydney, Australia


The ISTAS 2017 conference in Sydney has been scheduled to coincide with the annual IEEE Panel of Conference Organizers (IEEE POCO) event from 7-9 August 2017, and the triennial IEEE Sections Congress from 11-13 August 2017.

The ISTAS 2017 theme, "From Good Ideas to Practical Solutions," is designed to focus on how we can identify a good technological idea and transition it into a practical solution that delivers real benefits to society. The conference will bring together scientists, engineers, technologists and scholars from multiple disciplines to hold a dialogue on many technological and societal issues, and collaborate on the co-creation of ideas to develop and utilize innovative solutions to address them.

The main conference will be supported by several workshops and special sessions, including the 17th Workshop on Social Implications of National Security, hosted by Prof. Katina Michael from the Univ of Wollongong, as well as a Doctoral Mentoring Workshop for PhD Students, hosted by the University of New South Wales.

For additional information, including the complete conference announcement, calls for papers, and information for authors, please visit the ISTAS 2017 website. General inquiries should be addressed to the ISTAS 2017 General Chair, Philip Hall at philip.hall@ieee.org.


IEEE Greening through ICT Summit
3 October 2017, Paris, France


The 2017 Greening through ICT Summit (GtICT) will be held Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, Le Palais des Congrès de Paris 3, Place du Général Kœnig. It will examine opportunities both where information and communications technology (ICT) is used as a tool to improve environmental and societal functions, and improving the energy efficiency, carbon footprint and life cycle management of ICT itself.

The Summit's objective is to identify the combination of key technological, commercial and public policy challenges that must be overcome to achieve sustainability in our increasingly connected world. As such, it seeks to build a broad dialogue among the research community, ICT practitioners and its vertical application sectors, equipment and technology providers, the ICT standardization community, and with public policy influencers and decision makers. To learn more, visit the Green ICT website.


IEEE Global Humanitarian Conference (GHTC)
19-22 October 2017, San Jose, CA, USA




GHTC focuses on innovation, deployment and adaptation of Technology for Humanitarian Goals and Sustainable Development. The conference invites presenters to showcase innovation and progress in technology and methodology addressing the socio-cultural and socio-economic needs of vulnerable and resource-constrained end-user communities in developing and developed countries, as well as confronting the challenges of both natural and man-made disasters.

Key focus areas that are particularly relevant include (but are not limited to):
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Healthcare
  • Agriculture and Food Security
  • Quality education
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Connectivity and communication
  • Humanitarian challenges and opportunities
  • Disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery
  • Other United Nations sustainable development goals
For more information, visit the conference website.


5th IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability-Engineering and the Environment (SusTech 2017)
12-14 November 2017, Phoenix, AZ, USA




SusTech 2017 is sponsored by the IEEE Oregon Section, IEEE Region 6, IEEE Phoenix Section and IEEE-USA. SSIT is a technical co-sponsor long term supporter of the SusTech conference series and host of the Social Implications/Quality of Life Track.

For further details, please visit the conference website. Sign up for the conference newsletter and watch for the Call for Papers to be issued soon.


3rd IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science, and Technology (ETHICS 2017)
12-13 November 2017, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


The theme for IEEE ETHICS 2017 is Ethical Innovations in AI/AS. Financial co-sponsors for the conference include SSIT, IEEE-USA, IEEE Standards Association and the Southeastern Michigan Section. Technical co-sponsors include the TA/TechEthics Initiative.

For further information, please contact the General Chair, Philip Hall at philip.hall@ieee.org.






Joint Special Issue - Call for Papers - Has Been Extended!

The extended submission deadlines for the March 2018 Joint Special Issue of the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine and IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine are approaching quickly!

Information about revised dates and a link to each call for papers is available below. For further inquiries, please email Katina Michael at katina@uow.edu.au.



#1: Robotics and Social Implications in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine


Guest Editors: Ramona Pringle (Ryerson University), Diana Bowman (Arizona State University), Meg Leta Jones (Georgetown University), and Katina Michael (University of Wollongong)



Updated deadlines:
  • 22 June 2017: Submission deadline
  • 1 August 2017: First decision communicated to authors
  • 20 November 2017: Final acceptance decision communicated to authors
  • 10 December 2017: Final manuscripts uploaded by authors
Access the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine submission portal.



#2: Socio-ethical Approaches to Robotics Development in IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine


Guest Editors: Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield), Aimee van Wynsberghe (University of Twente), John C. Havens (The Global Initiative for Ethical Concerns in the Design of Autonomous Systems), and Katina Michael (University of Wollongong)


Updated deadlines:
  • 1 August 2017: Submission deadline
  • 1 October 2017: Author notification
  • 15 November 2017: Revised paper submitted
  • 30 November 2017: Final acceptance decision communicated to authors
Access the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine submission portal.


General Call for Papers: IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine

Dr. Katina Michael, senior editor of IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, invites contributions to the publication's Socio-economic Impacts section. For more information, visit the magazine website or contact Katina at katina@uow.edu.au.


Publish your Ethical Dilemma

The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology has partnered with the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) on an initiative to publish accounts of society members' experiences grappling with ethical dilemmas in professional contexts. Contributions of this sort will be published simultaneously in both newsletters after authors work with the editors of the two publications.

Articles should be brief—between 300 and 500 words—and should not include the names of any individuals and/or companies. The IEEE Legal Department requires that all articles be fully sanitized to protect the privacy of people and organizations.

If you have an ethical dilemma article that you wish to share in the IEEE Life Members and SSIT newsletters, please submit it to the SSIT editor at heather.love@usd.edu or to the LMC editor at lm-newsletters@ieee.org.

And, without further ado, we are pleased to present the first article in the "Ethical Dilemma" series…




The "Annihilating People" Problem

Submitted by John Impagliazzo, IEEE Life Fellow, Fort Salonga, NY, USA

In the mid-1960s, I was a young engineer working for a major military research company. My job was to assist in the research and development of directional control missiles and to test navigation lock-on systems for target destruction. In both cases, precision gyro techniques made missiles defy gravity; electronic GPS did not exist then. Although the involvement was a mind-opening experience, I must admit that I was a bit uncomfortable working on these missile systems; in both cases, the purpose was target destruction, which inevitably meant people destruction. However, my ongoing reasoning was simple: If I did not do this work, someone else would. So, I carried on ensuring that missiles would fly straight and they would accurately lock onto their targets.

One afternoon, a company senior officer proposed that I transfer to another division to join a large elite team of mathematicians and scientists to solve an important military problem. Naturally, I became intrigued with the prospect. Innocently, I asked for an explanation of this problem that required so many smart people to solve. The response was "annihilating people." As you might imagine, even though this company was a military contractor, I was startled by the terse reply. I further requested the meaning of an "annihilating people" problem. The ensuing discussion suggested that this was an alternative to replace the use of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange used in an ensuing war. Specifically, if an attacker could not see targets because of dense jungle foliage, where would an airplane drop ordnance to maximize enemy destruction while minimizing collateral (friendly) damage?

The company gave me a day to consider the offer. As a young engineer, the situation presented a real opportunity to work with a high-powered think tank on a strategic problem. Ignoring human consequences, for me the challenge was just a mathematical, military problem. If I did not accept, the company would just find another person. Hence, I saw no immediate reason to refuse the opportunity.

That night I had difficulty sleeping. The pending probabilistic min-max problem was a door to new professional openings, not to mention the opportunity to work among elite intellectuals. The challenge was to maximize enemy casualties while minimizing friendly losses. Yet, the underlying consequence in solving the problem was the proportional slaughter of people - both friend and foe.

The next day as I drove to work, I was still torn about what to do. The perplexing dilemma kept tearing at my conscience. The dichotomy between "it's just a math problem that the team will likely solve" coupled with "killing people, friend and foe" became somewhat agonizing. What triggered a decision was the realization that the "enemy" was not an army engaged in jungle warfare; it was families - men, women, and children who lived in small jungle villages - that would suffer the consequences from implementing a problem I would help solve. In the end, I relented to human compassion. Even today, I have no regret for foregoing professional opportunity by doing the right thing.



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