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

I know that many of you are in transit to Boston, or in other ways preparing for the 2019 International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), which begins on Friday. With a rich program that includes distinguished speakers, significant topics, and fascinating paper titles, the event promises to foster important conversations about many of the most pressing technological issues facing society today. As you’ll see from the ISTAS note below, even people who aren’t able to attend the conference in-person have a chance to tune in remotely for Saturday’s plenary events.
This month’s newsletter also includes important reminders about:
  • SSIT’s current fundraising opportunity—we hope you’ll consider donating to SSIT before the end of 2019, since an anonymous donor has agreed to match up to US$10,000 of contributions!
  • SSIT’s ongoing membership drive—if you haven’t done so already, we hope that you’ll renew your membership today, and also that you’ll invite your colleagues to join our society.
Recent SSIT Outreach Work
One of our goals for upcoming issues of this newsletter is to feature short reports of SSIT-related activities that showcase the diverse ways that SSIT-member interests and expertise speak to broader IEEE and global concerns. This way, all members can stay up to date on society happenings and also get new ideas for ways to engage with local communities and professional networks. To kick things off, I’m pleased to report on two recent events:

In August, I was invited to collaborate with leaders from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) to co-facilitate a workshop at the United Nations Civil Societies Conference on “Building Sustainable and Inclusive Cities and Communities” in Salt Lake City, Utah. Titled “Design for Action: Networking with Global Technical Societies for Sustainable and Inclusive Systems,” the workshop introduced participants to the concept of “Systems Thinking,” invited them to brainstorm ways in which this perspective might help them address problems and challenges within their own organizations, and outlined opportunities for collaboration and networking with the IEEE SSIT and INCOSE. Follow-up versions of the workshop are planned for future INCOSE and IEEE SSIT events. Many thanks to SSIT/INCOSE member Bruce Hecht for bringing together the group of facilitators.
Workshop Presenters and Facilitators (l-r): Bruce Hecht, Paul White, Mo Mansouri, Larry Strawser, Heather Love, and Alan Harding
In October, I was a panelist for an “IEEE Day” webinar focused on Supporting IEEE’s Mission via Ethical Considerations of Technology.” Organized by the IEEE’s TechEthics branch, the webinar also featured Raja Chatila (Professor of AI, Robotics, and Ethics at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Director of the “SMART” Laboratory of Excellence on human-machine interaction, and chair of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems) and Stephen Welby (Executive Director and COO of IEEE, and past Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering for the U.S. Department of Defense). Mark Vasquez moderated the discussion, which covered topics such as the value of interdisciplinary thinking to engineering ethics and the importance of making ethical thinking a central part of the process for all technological development. A full video recording of the webinar is available at the link above.
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
IEEE ISTAS 2019: This Week!
IEEE ISTAS 2019 is happening THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, 15-16 November at the School of Engineering of Tufts University, Medford Campus. The symposium brings together engineers, policy makers, social scientists and technologists to share experiences and discuss the social, cultural, ethical and economic implications of technology. We hope to see those of you based in the Boston area at the conference.

Even if you’re not able to attend in person, note that Saturday’s plenary sessions are available for remote access. Additional details are available on the ISTAS website, but here is the key info:
  • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm EST: Livestream of “Brave New Brain-Tech: IEEE Neuroethics Program Development of Guidelines for Use of Neurotechnologies in Practice”
  • A discussion of the Impact of IEEE Division VI Societies will be video recorded, and a link will be available.
IEEE ISTAS 2019 has a rich program incorporating keynote addresses, plenary sessions, paper sessions, panels and workshops.

Click here to download the program, which will be updated regularly online.
Keynote Addresses
  • Tom Coughlin, President IEEE-USA
  • Babak Dastgheib-Beheshti, Region 1 Director, IEEE
Plenary Sessions focus on:
  • Sustainable Development – Addressing Societal Challenges
  • Creating Ethically Informed Standards
  • Impact of Division VI
  • Brave New Brain-Tech: IEEE Neuroethics Program Development of Guidelines for Use of Neurotechnologies in Practice
Click here for more information on plenary speakers.

Panels and Workshops focus on:
  • AI: Pervasive, Invasive and Persuasive
  • Fair AI-Based Recruitment
  • IEEE ISTAS is technically co-sponsored by IEEE-USA, IEEE Region 1, IEEE Standards, IEEE Product/Safety Engineering Society, IEEE Reliability Society, IEEE Education Society, IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society and supported by the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee.

We look forward to seeing you in Boston!
SSIT Fundraising Opportunity: Donate by 31 December and Double your Impact!

Submitted by Bob Dent, SSIT President


Thanks for your interest in, and support of, the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). Your generous participation to date is meaningful and much appreciated by all who are impacted by SSIT initiatives.

To support new levels of engagement and impact by SSIT, I am pleased to announce that 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 the impact of your gift between now and 31 December will be doubled!

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.
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
2019 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (IEEE ISTAS 2019)
School of Engineering, Tufts University (Medford, MA Campus) 
15-16 November 2019 

SSIT’s flagship conference, the 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (IEEE ISTAS 2019) is hosted this year by the School of Engineering, Tufts University on its Medford, MA Campus. The event will take place on 15 - 16 November 2019.

See Update from earlier in the newsletter for the latest information about IEEE ISTAS 2019.
Information and Communication Technology for African Development 2019 (ICT4AD'19)
Yaounde, Cameroon
 | 26-28 November 2019 

The 3rd International Conference on Information and Communication Technology for African Development (ICT4AD’19) is organized in Yaounde, Cameroon by ANTIC (National Agency for Information and Communication Technology) – IST-Africa Partner for Cameroon, and African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) and Financial Co-Sponsored by IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

We are inviting SSIT and other IEEE members to volunteer to provide constructive, actionable feedback on papers as a member of the Technical Program Committee. Please contact Paul M Cunningham ( to confirm which areas you can address.
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 Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT), following events in Boston (2014) and Melbourne (2016). It will take place from 23-26 July 2020 at the CEG Campus of Anna University in Chennai, India. The 2020 event invites us 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.
The Call for Papers is now available, and additional information about the event will be available online soon.