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Message from the Editor
Heather Love, Editor, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) Newsletter

In addition to our usual notice about upcoming Conference and Publication opportunities, SSIT President Paul Cunningham returns to us in this month's newsletter with a recap of SSIT's 2017 activities and a look ahead to what's coming up in 2018.

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 January 2018 newsletter are due by 20 December 2017.

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SSIT Update

Paul Cunningham, President, IEEE SSIT

2017 has been a productive year for SSIT, with new student branches being established in Region 9 and Region 10 and a new chapter established in Region 9. The IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT has also been very active during 2017, supporting digital literacy efforts in health clinics in Northern Ethiopia, Western Kenya, Southern Malawi and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Greg Adamson, SSIT Past President has been actively involved in leading IEEE Ethics related activities, and Laura Edelson, former SSIT President has just completed a two year term as Chair, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee.

2018 looks even more exciting for SSIT with the establishment of at least three new chapters currently under preparation in IEEE-USA (Region 1-6), and the expected extension of existing SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT activities to health clinics in Namibia. I am honoured to have been appointed 2018 Chair, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee.

Social Implications of Technology continues to need the help of SSIT members to become active volunteers. This is particularly important in relation to supporting the reinvigoration of existing chapters as well as establishment of new chapters around the world. We also need your contribution to the work of SSIT committees, including SSIT’s Five Pillars, and in particular, SSIT Young Professionals and SSIT’s Standards Committee which have been very active since their establishment a few months ago. We are also looking for talent with a strong track record of active SSIT volunteer leadership (particularly at chapter level) to put their names forward for consideration for future election to the SSIT Board of Governors.

Finally, we have recently launched a fund raising campaign to strengthen and scale SSIT activities, both locally and globally. Please inform yourself about the objectives of this campaign, and recommend support to family and friends.

If you or a colleague would like to volunteer (or if you simply want to find out more), please contact me at pcunningham@ieee.org so I can put you in touch with the responsible leadership volunteer.

I wish all of our existing (and prospective) members, your families and local communities a Peaceful and Prosperous, Ethical and Socially Aware 2018!

Paul M. Cunningham
President, IEEE Social Implications of Technology




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

Workshop on Circuits for Social Good
11 February 2018, San Francisco, CA, USA

Held in conjunction with 2018 IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), The Workshop on Circuits for Social Good highlights various ways that circuits can help address some of the most important challenges facing society today, ranging from health care to energy conservation. The program aims to give a broad perspective of how one can have impact. It begins with several keynotes and invited talks from industry, academia and startups followed by interactive round-table discussions on topics including machine learning, medical devices, next generation communications, security and Internet of Things (IoT), as well as discussions on career paths in research, product development, and entrepreneurship.

More information is available on their website.



9th International Conference on Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine
14-15 April 2018, Miami, FL, USA


The 9th International Conference on Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine will be held at the Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, FL, USA, 14-15 April 2018. This conference has been endorsed and technically co-sponsored by IEEE/SSIT and many other professional societies and institutions.

More information about the conference can be obtained from the website.



13th Annual IST-Africa Week 2018: Call for Abstracts
8-11 May 2018, Southern Africa

Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IST-Africa 2018 is the 13th in an annual series of Ministerial level Technology Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development Conferences. The host country will be published during December after Cabinet approval has been finalized.

IST-Africa provides a platform in Africa to strengthen ICT-enabled Innovation, Science and Technology related policy dialogues within Africa and between Africa, Europe and the rest of the world, as well as Sustainable Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building. It also provides an opportunity to identify potential partners for future research and innovation cooperation under Horizon 2020. IST-Africa is a unique community that brings together cross-disciplinary stakeholders from public, private, education and research, and societal sectors with end user communities focused on ICT and STI Research and Innovation.

The IST-Africa 2018 Call for Papers invites full papers (eight pages in length) using the paper guidelines and IST-Africa template to be submitted online for review by 15 January. All papers are double blind peer reviewed. Each presenter can present one paper in the Programme. Full Papers accepted for the Conference Proceedings and presented during the conference will be submitted for publication to IEEE Xplore as an additional dissemination channel.

Thematic areas include: eHealth/mHealth; Technology-enhanced Learning; eAgriculture/mAgriculture; eInfrastructures and NRENs; Energy; Next Generation Computing (Big data, Cloud computing, Future Internet, Internet of Things); eGovernment; Content Technologies (Languages, Digital Preservation); Cyber Security; Collaborative Open Innovation and ICT-enabled Entrepreneurship; Sustainable Development including ICT4D and Societal Implications of Technology.

Download the call for papers for more information.
Main Contact: Secretariat@IST-Africa.org.



Sixth Annual Governance of Emerging Technologies and Science (GETS) Conference
16-18 May, 2018, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

The Sixth Annual Conference on Governance of Emerging Technologies and Science: Law, Policy and Ethics is accepting submission of abstracts for proposed presentations. GETS is premised on the belief that there is much to be learned and shared from and across the governance experience for various emerging technologies.

The conference will consist of plenary and session presentations and discussions on regulatory, governance, legal, policy, social and ethical aspects of emerging technologies, including (but not limited to): nanotechnology, synthetic biology, gene editing, biotechnology, genomics, personalized medicine, digital health, human enhancement technologies, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, data analytics, telecommunications, information technologies, surveillance technologies, technology and privacy, cybersecurity, geoengineering, neuroscience, military technologies, artificial intelligence, algorithms, autonomous cars, and robotics.

The co-sponsors invite submission of abstracts for proposed presentations. Although abstracts are invited for any aspect or topic relating to the governance of emerging technologies (including any of the technologies listed above), we particularly encourage abstracts relating to this year’s two priority themes Internet of Things, and Success Stories in Public Engagement, International Coordination, or Soft Law.

Please submit your abstract (maximum 500 words; must contain your name and email address) by 31 January 2018. Submitters of abstracts need not provide a written paper, although provision will be made for posting and possible post-conference publication of papers for those who are interested.

Note: the sponsors will pay for the conference registration including all conference meals and events for one presenter for each accepted abstract. In addition, we will have limited funds available for travel subsidies (the application is included in submission form).


Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) Seventh Biennial Conference
29 June-2 July 2018, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

The Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) is an interdisciplinary community of scholars who approach the philosophy of science with a focus on scientific practice and the practical uses of scientific knowledge. For further details on our objectives, see our mission statement.

The SPSP conference provides a broad forum for scholars committed to making detailed and systematic studies of scientific practices - neither dismissing concerns about truth and rationality, nor ignoring contextual and pragmatic factors. The conference aims at cutting through traditional disciplinary barriers and developing novel approaches. We welcome contributions from not only philosophers of science, but also philosophers working in epistemology and ethics, as well as the philosophy of engineering, technology, medicine, agriculture, and other practical fields. Additionally, we welcome contributions from historians and sociologists of science, pure and applied scientists, and any others with an interest in philosophical questions regarding scientific practice.

Keynote speakers at the 2018 conference include:
  • William Bechtel, University of California at San Diego
  • Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter
  • Maarten van Dyck, University of Ghent
  • Alison Wylie, University of British Columbia
For details regarding proposal guidelines please visit the event webpage.

Abstract submission deadline: 15 January 2018
Notification of acceptance: 7 March 2018
Main contact: Joe Rouse, jrouse@wesleyan.edu

An online submission site for paper or session proposals will be available later this fall. In addition, stay tuned for forthcoming details about a graduate student workshop, a smaller topical workshop before and after the conference, and a poster presentation session.

SPSP 2017-18 Organizing Committee:

Chiara Ambrosio, University College, London
Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide
Justin Biddle, Georgia Institute of Technology
Till Grüne-Yanoff, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm
Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter
Matthew Lund, Rowan University
Joseph Rouse, Wesleyan University



Call for Papers for Special Issue of Proceedings of the IEEE
Machine Ethics: the design and governance of ethical AI and autonomous systems


Guest Editors:
  • Alan Winfield, University of the West of England (UWE), United Kingdom
  • Katina Michael, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • Vanessa Evers, University of Twente, Netherlands
Publication Date: 2018

The primary focus of this special issue will be on machine ethics, that is the question of how autonomous systems can be imbued with ethical values. Ethical autonomous systems are needed because, inevitably, near future systems are moral agents; consider driverless cars, or medical diagnosis AIs, both of which will need to make choices with ethical consequences. Using the terminology of James Moor (2006) [1] we seek papers that deal with both implicit ethical agents, that is machines designed to avoid unethical outcomes, and explicit ethical agents, that is machines which either explicitly encode or learn ethics and determine actions based on those ethics. Of course ethical machines are socio-technical systems thus, as a secondary focus, we invite papers that explore the educational, societal and regulatory implications of machine ethics, including the issue of ethical governance. Ethical governance is needed in order to develop standards and processes that allow us to transparently and robustly assure the safety of ethical autonomous systems and hence build public trust and confidence.
[1] James H. Moor: The Nature, Importance, and Difficulty of Machine Ethics, IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 18-21, July/August 2006.


Publish your Ethical Dilemma

The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology has partnered with the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) to publish accounts of Society members' experiences grappling with ethical dilemmas in professional contexts. If you have an experience that involved navigating an ethical dilemma, consider sharing it with your colleagues through the SSIT or LMC newsletters.

A joint SSIT/LMC committee will vet all initial submissions, and authors will work with the editors of the two publications to finalize their submissions. Accepted Ethical Dilemma articles will be published simultaneously in the June and December issues of both newsletters.

Article submissions must be between 300 and 500 words in Word format. The IEEE Legal Department requires that all articles be fully sanitized to protect the privacy of people and organizations.

Submit manuscripts to Stacey Waters, IEEE Project Manager, at s.waters@ieee.org.


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