December 2019
Message from the Editor
Heather Love, Editor, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) Newsletter
Dear SSIT Members,

With the busy holiday season soon upon us, I hope that you will take a few minutes to peruse this month’s SSIT newsletter, which includes important reminders about SSIT’s current fundraising opportunity (you have TWO MORE WEEKS to double the impact of your donation!) and membership drive (renew your membership today, and invite your colleagues to join, too!).

In addition, you’ll find updates about recent SSIT Chapter and publication activities. Stay tuned for a more detailed recap and report on last month’s ISTAS 2019 conference in the January newsletter.
As always, I invite submissions from all SSIT members for inclusion in future newsletters. In particular, I’d love to hear about your local chapter meetings, events, or outreach activities. To announce an event, news item, volunteer opportunity, CFP, award notice, or other item, please contact me at Submissions for each newsletter are due on the 1st of the month.
SSIT Announcements
SSIT Fundraising Opportunity: LAST CHANCE to Double your Impact!

Submitted by Bob Dent, SSIT President


As a reminder, an anonymous donor has issued a challenge to match donations dollar for dollar up to US$10,000 to the SSIT Fund of the IEEE Foundation, by 31 December 2019. This is an exciting opportunity for SSIT, and means that you have TWO MORE WEEKS to double the impact of your gift.

I invite you to be a part of this challenge by making your gift today. Donors who choose to give at a leadership level of US$200 or more will receive an IEEE SSIT pin to recognize their dedication and generosity.

You can join this effort today by making your gift online or mailing a check to: IEEE Foundation – SSIT Fund, IEEE Foundation, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854. In the US, donations to the IEEE Foundation are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. For other countries, please check with your local tax advisors.

I hope you will accept the challenge!

Thank you in advance for your generous support.
In the US, donations to the IEEE Foundation are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. For other countries, please check with your local tax advisors.
IEEE Technology & Society Magazine: December 2019 Issue Available

Submitted by Terri Bookman


The latest (December 2019) issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine -- SSIT’s primary member benefit since 1982 – has been published. The current issue is a Special Issue on “Ethics and System Design in a New Era of Human-Computer Interaction,” guest edited by Roba Abbas, Stephen Marsh, and Kristina Milanovic.

Digital and electronic copies of the issue are being sent to all SSIT members via email. Print copies are available for an additional fee. Content is also available at SSIT’s website:, as well as on IEEE Xplore.

The Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine is Jeremy Pitt, of Imperial College London.

In March 2020 SSIT will launch an additional new quarterly publication, The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, with Katina Michael as EIC. For more information, see the “Publications” section below.
SSIT Activities Report: Isabel Pedersen @ the University of Waterloo

Isabel Pedersen is Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media, and Culture and Assistant Professor at Ontario Tech University, founder and director of Decimal Lab, and editor of the forthcoming collection, Embodied Computing (MIT Press, 2020). On Thursday, 28 November, she gave an SSIT-promoted talk titled Embodied Computing Futures at the University of Waterloo. The event was part of the Department of English Language & Literature’s Speaker Series, and was organized by local chapter chair Rozita Dara (University of Guelph) and BoG Member/SSIT Newsletter Editor Heather Love (University of Waterloo).


Embodied Computing is a technocultural phenomenon that draws on both wide-ranging histories and extensive imagined futures through ever-shifting narratives, some more significant than others. Advances in AI confront the body through computing devices that are worn, implanted, ingested, and moved amongst. The talk surveyed some of the methodologies used by Decimal Lab to address sociotechnical implications through research creation projects, humanities archiving, and traditional scholarly work. 

We hope to continue featuring short reports of SSIT-related activities in our newsletters. Please contact SSIT Newsletter Editor Heather Love ( if you have information about a recent event or activity we can highlight!

SSIT 2019-2020 Membership Drive Underway

Submitted by Anasuya Devi, SSIT Membership Chair


Warm greetings to IEEE SSIT’s current and future members! Our 2019-2020 Membership Drive is now underway, and we hope that you will both renew your commitment to SSIT, and invite your friends and colleagues to join the Society.

As part of SSIT, you are linked to a global network of professionals, scholars, and citizens who are concerned with how technology impacts the world and how the application of technology can improve the world. SSIT’s interdisciplinary membership draws from all other technical societies within the IEEE, and we welcome members from beyond the engineering profession who have overlapping interests, perspectives, and areas of expertise.
SSIT activities and volunteer opportunities include:
  • IEEE and SSIT policy development, research, and working groups.
  • The SSIT flagship international Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) and other IEEE conferences of interest.
  • The Award-winning IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.
  • A new peer-reviewed publication of original research, the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, starting in 2020.
  • SSIT Distinguished Lectures and Lecturers.
  • Awards, including IEEE SSIT Carl Barus Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Interest, and the Norbert Weiner Award for social and professional responsibility.
  • IEEE and non-IEEE volunteer’s collaboration on cross-border interventions in 1st-Africa Partner Countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa.
We hope that you will continue working with us to achieve the objectives at the heart of our five central “Pillars” of focus:
Call for Expressions of Interest to Host SSIT Conferences
SSIT is a sponsor of IEEE conferences in the field of technology and society. As a reminder, we are currently seeking expressions of interest from SSIT members interested in hosting the following conferences in their cities.

IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS)
ISTAS is the flagship conference of SSIT, addressing issues across the range of SSIT interests. Information about the most recent ISTAS conference is available here.
Expressions of interest are welcome for 2020, 2021, and 2022.

IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW)
The 21CW conference series addresses the technical, social and personal legacy of the founder of cybernetics, control theory, and information ethics, Norbert Wiener. It has been held in Boston (2014), Melbourne (2016), with satellite activities in India 2014, 2016, 2018. Additional information about these events is available here. The 2020 21CW conference will take place from 23-26 July in Chennai, India; see conferences section below for more details.
Expressions of interest are welcome for 2022.

If you are interested in hosting one of these events, or if you would like further information, please contact SSIT Conferences Chair Paul Cunningham at
Call for Nominations: IEEE SSIT Awards
IEEE SSIT has three major awards, all of which are open for nominations at this time.

The Carl Barus Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Interest is open to anyone, or group, who performs an important public service, possibly at the risk of career or reputation. This includes anyone, whether or not in the engineering profession, or a member of IEEE. Further information on recipients can be found here.

The Brian M. O’Connell SSIT Distinguished Service Award is for SSIT volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding service for the benefit of SSIT. More information on this award can be found here.

The SSIT Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility is given to an individual or team for exceptional contribution, or outstanding career contribution in the field of the social implications of technology. Further information can be found here.

To nominate an individual, submit information to Michael Cardinale ( Include the individual’s contact information – name, address, phone, email, professional history (year, organization and position), and the proposed citation in 25 words or less. The nominator must also submit their own contact information.
Call for New SSIT Chapters

As a reminder, our website shows that several IEEE Regions are looking for motivated individuals to spearhead new SSIT Chapters.

If you are an SSIT member who is not currently affiliated with a specific Chapter of the organization, please consider starting one in your area!

It only takes 12 members to form a Chapter, and by taking the lead, you can help mobilize the people around you engage in discussions about technology’s role in society and tackle the challenges involved in advancing technology for humanity.

Petitions for IEEE Society and Technical Council Chapters and Joint Chapters can be submitted online, and questions about SSIT Chapter formation can be directed to SSIT Chapters Chair Ramalatha Marimuthu at
Update: IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society
The March 2020 launch of SSIT’s new journal, the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society is quickly approaching. The ManuscriptCentral submissions portal is now open, and founding editor-in-chief, Professor Katina Michael, will be accepting submissions. Find out more about the publication’s scope, topics, and article submission guidelines here.

For expressions of interest to serve on the editorial board as an ongoing reviewer or associate editor, or for other enquiries please email
Publish your Ethical Dilemma
If you have an experience that involved navigating an ethical dilemma as part of your professional life, we invite you to consider sharing it with your colleagues through the SSIT or Life Member Committee (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 Microsoft Word format. IEEE Legal Department requires that all articles be fully sanitized to protect the privacy of people and organizations.

Read an example of a previously published ethical dilemma, John Impagliazzo's story, which is the "Featured Article" at the end of our June 2017 newsletter.

Submit manuscripts to Rosann Marosy at
IST-Africa 2020 - Call for Papers Deadline - 9 December 2019
Kampala, Uganda  | 6-8 May 2020  
Hosted by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IEEE Africa Council, IEEE Uganda Section and UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, IST-Africa Week 2020 (Kampala, Uganda, 6-8 May) is the fifteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research and Innovation Conferences.

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

IST-Africa 2020 Call for Papers invites full papers (8 pages in length) using the paper guidelines and IST-Africa template provided at to be submitted online for blind peer review by 9 December 2019.

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; Global Development including ICT4D and Societal Implications of Technology.

Please download the Call for Papers for more information.

Papers must present analysis of initial or final research results or a case study. General project descriptions are not appropriate. It is important to highlight actual or expected impact as well as the level of innovation.

It is necessary for the paper submitted to include a unique element that has not previously been published and any previous published materials to be clearly referenced (including material previously published by the authors).

Each presenter can present ONE paper in the Program. It is necessary for papers to be physically presented during the event to ensure inclusion in the Proceedings.
IEEE SSIT 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW2020)
Chennai, India
   | 23-26 July 2020 

21CW2020: “ Being Human in a Global Village” is the third in a series of conferences initiated by the IEEE SSIT, and follows successful events in Boston (2014) and Melbourne (2016). This series focuses on the 21st century legacy of mathematician, technologist, and philosopher Norbert Wiener, whose work in cybernetics brought ideas like complexity, computing, communications, and control to the quest for a general systems theory.

The 2020 event invites participants to consider how we – as policy makers, parents, citizens, business owners, researchers, humans – need to be proactively preparing for a new world in light of the challenges coming our way in the form of artificial intelligence, or machine learning.

The conference will have three general themes:
  • The state of technologies initiated by Wiener.
  • The social impact of those technologies.
  • Wiener’s 1950s engagement and travels in India.
More specifically, participants are invited to consider how Wiener’s work resonates with various contemporary interpretations of the “global village”concept. For example, literary scholar Sue-Im claims that it has come to designate “the dominant term for expressing a global coexistence altered by transnational commerce, migration, and culture,” while Thomas Friedman sees our world “tied together into a single globalized marketplace and village.”

In keeping with the interdisciplinary ethos of Wiener’s work, the conference invites participants from all disciplines that engage with the social implications of technology, and organizers welcome proposals for presentations or posters in a variety of formats.

Important Dates:
  • 31 December 2019: Early call for peer-reviewed papers and abstract-only submissions, including papers, posters, panels, and roundtable discussions (decision by 31 January 2020)
  • 28 February 2020: Regular call for peer-reviewed papers and abstract-only submissions (decision by 15 April 2020)
  • 31 May 2020: Final submission of accepted papers due, and last call for abstract-only submissions (decision by 15 June 2020)
If you have questions about a potential proposal, please contact 21CW2020 Conference Chair, Prof. T. V. Gopal, Anna University, India (
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