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june

Message from the Editor
Heather Love, Editor, IEEE SSIT Newsletter

Greetings! After our two-month summer hiatus (or winter break, for those of you in the Southern hemisphere), I am delighted to present our September newsletter! Below, you will find exciting announcements about SSIT award recipient Katina Michael, a brand new SSIT Chapter, and recent SINS17 and ISTAS 2017 conference proceedings. Be sure to note the important call for SSIT Board of Governor nominations and the details about upcoming conferences and publication opportunities that should be of interest to many of you. Stay tuned in coming months for updates on SSIT website development, information about the organization’s core "Pillars" of focus, and more perspectives on last month's ISTAS conference in Sydney, Australia. In addition, watch for future installments of our "Ethical Dilemma" series that are in the works.

As always, if you have a news item, SSIT-related update, volunteer opportunity, call for papers, award notice, or idea for a "Feature Article," please contact me at Heather.Love@usd.edu. Submissions for the October 2017 newsletter are due by 20 September 2017.

announcements header

Katina Michael Honored by SSIT with Brian M. O'Connell Distinguished Service Award
submitted by Terri Bookman

Katina Michael with Greg Adamson

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (M-T&S) Editor-in-Chief Katina Michael has been recognized with SSIT's highest award for service with the Brian M. O'Connell Distinguished Service Award. SSIT Past-President Greg Adamson presented the award Thursday evening, 10 August, at ISTAS 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Michael has served as editor of M-T&S since 2012. During her tenure, the size of the publication has increased dramatically, and the content has continued to develop into a rich mix of scholarly refereed content, and excellent shorter articles accessible to a general audience.

Over the same period, the impact factor for M-T&S, which is a rough measure of the influence and frequency of citation of the publication, has doubled. In 2016, IEEE Technology & Society Magazine received the Society for Technical Communications Award of Distinction for Editorial Excellence, under Michael's leadership.

Michael is Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia. In addition to her work on M-T&S, she has chaired two ISTAS conferences, in Australia and Toronto, and ran countless other conferences and workshops. Since 2014, she has concurrently been a senior editor of IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. During her tenure as EIC for M-T&S she has also been the special issue guest editor on SSIT topics for Computer, Electronic Commerce Research, IEEE Potentials, Proceedings of the IEEE and a forthcoming issue of IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine.

Narelle Clark, deputy CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) noted on Twitter at the time of the ceremony, "Wow. @katinamichael gets an award from @IEEESSIT and talks about the person after whom it is named. Brilliant." Brian M. O'Connell was a past SSIT president who made great contributions to the work of the society; he died in 2008 at the age of 47.

Katina was lost for words for a change. She thanked everyone for the opportunities she had been given, including the Managing Editor and Past Presidents and Past Editors for mentoring her closely for a decade. She extended her thanks by individually identifying delegates who had contributed to the Magazine over the years and was grateful for all that she had learnt in the process.

"It was very emotional," Michael said. "I was thinking that Brian could have still been here with us now, and then Paul Cunningham, SSIT President said 'but he is here, just his body is not.'"


New SSIT Chapter

We are pleased to announce the formation of the IEEE Nicaragua Section Social Implications of Technology Society Chapter!

Congratulations, and a warm welcome to the new Chapter members.





SSIT Conference Proceedings Available Online

Continuing her generous service to the broader SSIT community, Katina Michael has made available the conference proceedings she has compiled from these two recent events:
For a sneak peek into a couple other of the ongoing projects Michael has been up to of late, check out these two videos:

call for volunteers

Call for Board of Governors Candidates

At the end of each year, SSIT elects three members to the SSIT Board of Governors. The term is for three years and the BoG meets primarily by means of a monthly teleconference. Nominees must be current members of SSIT.

Candidates are expected to have a record of recent activity in SSIT and/or interest in one or more SSIT activity areas - i.e. the "Five Pillars" of:
  • Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Technology
  • Ethics, Human Values and Technology
  • Technology Benefits for All
  • Societal Impact of Technology Advances
  • Protecting the Planet - Green Technology
Interested persons, or those wishing to suggest viable candidate(s), should send a short note expressing interest (a half to one page) to g.adamson@ieee.org by 30 September. Candidate statements, biographies, and photos will be sought for the member election.




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

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


The 2017 Greening through ICT Summit (GtICT) will be held at the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel in Paris, France. This summit 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 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 TechEthics Conference
13 October 2017, National Academy of Sciences Building, Washington, D.C., USA




The IEEE TechEthics Conference serves as the IEEE TechEthics program's flagship event, featuring luminaries in technology, philosophy, ethics, policy development and more. This highly interactive event will address significant and provocative questions related to robotics, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, autonomous transportation, ethics education, and other key aspects of the technology ethics landscape.

Join the conversation with keynote speakers Rodney Brooks and Danielle Bassett, and a slate of other thought leaders. For more information and to register, visit their 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.


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 event coordinator Kimball Williams at k.williams@ieee.org.




9th International Conference on Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine
14-15 April 2018, Miami, Florida, 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. Abstracts should be submitted before 15 November 2017. This conference has been endorsed or technically co-sponsored by IEEE/SSIT and many other professional societies and institutions.

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



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) 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.



Stay Up-to-Date with IEEE SSIT Happenings

Visit the SSIT Blog for news items and the latest Society updates.


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