January 2020
 
 
Message from the Editor
 
 
Heather Love, Editor, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) Newsletter
 
 
Dear SSIT Members,

On behalf of the SSIT Board of Governors, let me wish you a very Happy New Year! I hope that 2020 is off to a good start, and also that your New Year’s resolutions might include finding new ways to engage with and contribute to SSIT.
 
 
This month, we are delighted to bring you several updates and reports regarding:
  • The 2020 SSIT Board of Governors “Roster”
  • ISTAS 2019 Highlights and Outcomes
  • Recent SSIT Chapter Activities
  • Calls for Nominations
In addition, be sure to check out the Publications and Conferences calls in the later part of the newsletter, and to peruse this month’s Feature Article, submitted by organizers of the upcoming SSIT-sponsored conference on “Norbert Wiener in the Twenty-First Century,” which takes place this summer at Anna University in Chennai, India.
 
 
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 Heather.Love@uwaterloo.ca. Submissions for each newsletter are due on the 1st of the month.
 
 
SSIT Announcements
 
 
2020 SSIT Board of Governors Update
 
 
We are pleased to congratulate and welcome several newly-elected members to the SSIT Board of Governors (BoG): President-Elect Clint Andrews, and the 2020 cohort of Members-at-Large, Miriam Cunningham, Joe Heckert, and Katina Michael. Stay tuned for more detailed write-ups about each of them in future newsletters.
 
 
 
 
ISTAS 2019 Conference Report
 
 

Submitted by Miriam Cunningham

 
 
 
 

IEEE ISTAS 2019 – the flagship event of IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) took place in Boston from 15 - 16 November 2019. It was kindly hosted by the School of Engineering, Tufts University on its Medford Campus, MA.

 
 
Click here to download the IEEE ISTAS 2019 Report prepared by the IEEE ISTAS 2019 Organisers Miriam Cunningham (Program and Publications Chair), Paul Cunningham (Conference Chair), and Michael Cardinale (Treasurer).

IEEE ISTAS 2019 brought together engineers and policy makers, social scientists and technologists, graduate students and IEEE leadership including IEEE-USA President, IEEE Region 1 Director, IEEE Division VI Director-Elect 2020, and IEEE Division VI Society Presidents to share experiences and discuss the social, cultural, ethical, and economic implications of technology.

IEEE ISTAS 2019 was Technical Co-sponsored by IEEE USA, IEEE Region 1, IEEE Boston Section, IEEE Standards, IEEE Product/Safety Engineering Society, IEEE Reliability Society, IEEE Education Society, IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IEEE Professional Communication Society and IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society and supported by IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee.

The conference attracted over 118 delegates from the USA, Canada, Europe and Latin America. They provided very positive feedback, acknowledging the high-quality program and conference proceedings, opportunities to engage with IEEE leadership in a friendly collegiate atmosphere, as well as interactive knowledge sharing.
 
 
I thought that the conference was remarkably good, well organized, featuring a range of high-quality invited presentations from a range of international speakers. Organizers are to be congratulated for a job well done.
- Ken Foster, SSIT Member and Distinguished Lecturer

A highlight of the ISTAS program for me was the special session co-hosted by Mark A. Vasquez! Organized by the IEEE TechEthics program and the IEEE Brain Initiative, the session had an ambitious scope entitled "Brave New Brain-Tech: IEEE Neuroethics Program Development of Guidelines for Use of Neurotechnologies in Practice.” [click the link to access the recorded livestream of the event on IEEE.tv] The lively and provocative conversation offered perspectives on the present and the emerging future including fundamental science, medicine, health, and recovery from brain injury as well as what may become possible for brain enhancement. Even participants from outside of Boston had the opportunity to connect in to the livestream to hear from James Giordano of Georgetown University, Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota, Laura Specker Sullivan of the College of Charleston, and William (Jamie) Tyler at Arizona State University. Thanks to Mark and the team for organizing this thrilling exploration of a rapidly-evolving field.
-Bruce Hecht, SSIT Member
 
 
 
 
Videos from IEEE ISTAS 2019 are available at the following links: The outcomes from IEEE ISTAS 2019 include:
  • Lessons learnt from practitioners, researchers and policy makers shared during plenary and paper sessions that can be applied in ongoing and new project activities undertaken by participants
  • High-quality networking facilitated between policy makers, practitioners, researchers, social scientists, engineers and technologists leading to new collaborations and strengthening current relationships
  • Better understanding of the issues related to Sustainable Development / Societal Implications of technology / Humanitarian activities from a range of different perspectives
  • Access to high quality proceedings in IEEE Xplore facilitates those who attended and those who were not able to attend, to benefit from the knowledge and lessons learnt shared
  • Opportunities for delegates to engage with IEEEUSA President, IEEE Region 1 Director and Presidents of all Division VI Societies provided significant networking and collaboration opportunities for the future
The IEEE ISTAS 2019 Proceedings is available in IEEE Xplore.

Preparations for IEEE ISTAS 2020 are ongoing and the Call for Papers will be published during Q1 2020. If you are interested in hosting IEEE ISTAS in the future, or if you would like further information, please contact SSIT Conferences Chair, Jay Pearlman at jay.pearlman@fourbridges.org.
 
 
SSIT Activities Report
 
 
Inaugural SSIT Event in Japan
 
 

Submitted by Shiro Uesugi

 
 
On 9 November 2019, the Japan Chapter of SSIT hosted the IEEE Social Implications of Technology and Information Management (SITIM2019) conference in collaboration with the Japan Society for Information Management (JSIM) at Matsuyama University in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. The scope of this meeting focused on blockchain and information management applications. JSIM is a registered academic society in Japan which focuses mainly on the research of information management and helps spread awareness about the importance of blockchain in an international context. It therefore worked well to hold IEEE SITIM2019 as a joint conference with the national congress of JSIM. Around 130 attendees from all over Japan were also “first timers” at an IEEE conference.

This meeting was SSIT’s first official event in Japan, and it was rewarding to see how attendees were inspired by ideas not only in blockchain technology but also in the context of the Social Implications of Technology.

Professors Wim Laurier (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles), Shigeichiro Yamasaki (Kindai University), and Satoshi Horiuchi (Chuo University) gave keynote lectures. While Prof. Yamasaki presented engineering aspects of blockchain, especially focusing on how to record interests on virtual currency, Professors Laurier and Horiuchi lectured about the application of blockchain technology in the Value Network with the theory of REA (Resources-Events-Agents) ontology and its development to REA2. The event’s five selected paper presentations inspired the audience by bringing various aspects about blockchain research into conversation with each other. They featured research methods from economics, engineering, business, and management, and they offered:
  • a proposal to increase the resilience of the supply chain system
  • an analysis of a new mechanism for creating new chains of knowledge
  • a model of cryptocurrencies that is compatible to interests issues
  • a discussion of blockchain applications for food tracking
  • a mechanism to control cyber-debris
 
 
 
 
IEEE SSIT Contributions to IEEE Tunisia Student and Young Professionals Conference 2019
 
 

Submitted by Paul and Miriam Cunningham

 
 
The IEEE Tunisia Section Student and Young Professionals Conference 2019 was organized by the IEEE Tunisia Section and Student and Young Professional Leadership in Hammamat, Tunisia; it took place from 15-17 December. This conference brought together over 1,000 participants including engineering and technology professionals, staff and students from Tunisian public and private universities, as well as young professionals, to share lessons learnt and good practices, learn more about the technical, professional, and education benefits associated with IEEE membership, strengthen their skills capacities, and discuss how IEEE members can address societal challenges. The event also offered insight into current and future employment opportunities in Tunisia.

At the event, Prof. Paul M Cunningham (Past President, IEEE SSIT; Past Chair, IEEE HAC; 2020 Director-Elect, IEEE Division VI) delivered a keynote address focused on Sustainable Development, served as a judge for a Humanitarian Technology Competition, and delivered a SSIT Distinguished Lecture as a 90 minute participatory workshop focused on Sustainable Development.

Click here to download the report on SSIT’s contribution to IEEE TSYP 2019.
 
 
 
 
Insights from the Chair of a Very Active SSIT Chapter
 
 

Submitted by Murty S. Polavarapu,
Chair of SSIT’s Northern Virginia/Washington/Baltimore (USA) Chapter

 
 
What kind of topics would be of interest for SSIT Chapter meetings? How do you find the speakers? How do you get the word out? How can you keep this going?

All these (and more) questions are on the minds of any IEEE Technical Society Chapter Chair and particularly so for the Chair of an SSIT Chapter since the field of interest for our Society is so wide. I’m pleased to share how the Northern Virginia/Washington/Baltimore Chapter in the USA has addressed these issues, and tell you about some of the lessons we have learned.

Our Chapter has about 100 members spread across three IEEE Sections and covers the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. Traffic is a significant issue in attracting members to local meetings and rotation of meeting venues is the best way to maintain interest. My general rule of thumb is (a) to select meeting topics with societal implications that have no easy answers, and (b) to seek out local speakers with good credentials. As can be noted from the following list of our Chapter’s recent meeting titles, we addressed issues ranging from biotechnology, health care, and human genome editing to machine learning, quantum computing, GPS, and election security.

We have had challenges that included volunteer recruiting and retention, as well as juggling schedules and meeting locations to accommodate speakers’ availability. To me, though, the reward for making it all happen comes at the end of each meeting when someone walks up to you and thanks you for generating discussion on a challenging topic of wide interest.

I invite you to visit our Chapter’s website and to contact me ( murtyp@ieee.orgi) if you have any questions or recommendations.

Recent Meeting Titles:
  • “Election Security and Technology Focus at the AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues” by Dr. Michael Hernandez of American Association for Advancement of Science
  • “Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Predictable and Unpredictable Challenges of Regulating Machine Learning Systems” by Dr. Daniel Greene of University of Maryland, College Park
  • “Technology Policy Update - Implications for IEEE Members, Academics, Technologists, Innovators, Researchers and Entrepreneurs” by Dr. Matteo Sabattini, IEEE Region 2 Tech Policy Coordinator and Ericcson
  • “Computing Medicine” by Dr. Ophir Frieder of Georgetown University
  • “Neuroweapons: The Real and Present Threat of New Neuroactive Drugs, Bugs, Toxins and Devices” by Dr. James Giordano of Georgetown University
  • “A Wellness-Centric Healthcare System With Interoperable Public Health: The Multidimensional Global Threats, Interdependences of the Critical Infrastructures, and Geomedicine” by Dr. Luis Kun, SSIT Distinguished Lecturer
  • “Navigation: The Road to GPS and Getting Beyond It” by Dr. Kathleen Kramer of University of San Diego
  • “A Brief Introduction to Quantum Computers and their Societal Implications” by Dr. Charles Tahan of University of Maryland, College Park
  • “Emerging Biotechnologies: Implications for National Security and Biodefense” by Dr. Diane DiEuliis of National Defense University
  • “Human Genome Editing - Promise and Peril” by Dr. Fr. Kevin T. FitzGerald, S.J of Georgetown University
  • “The IP Guys, Two Engineers Turned Lawyers to Encourage and Protect our Intellectual Property” by Patrick Finnan and Stuart Shapiro of Edell, Shapiro & Finnan LLC.
  • “Emerging Neurotechnologies: Practical and Ethical Issues at the Intersection of Brain Science and Society” by Dr. James Giordano of Georgetown University
  • “Is Technology Making Us Dumber or Smarter?” Group Discussion
 
 
We hope to continue featuring short reports of SSIT-related activities in our newsletters. Please contact SSIT Newsletter Editor Heather Love (heather.love@uwaterloo.ca) if you have information about a recent event or activity we can highlight!
 
 
Volunteer Opportunities
 
 
Call for Nominations to SSIT Leadership Roles for 2021 Positions
 
 
The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) is an active IEEE Society focused on the challenges, results, and implications of the continuing advances and interactions of technology and society. SSIT provides both digital and face-to-face opportunities for IEEE and technical communities and societies to interact, to understand and address the Sustainable Development and ethics related challenges and opportunities that result from the progress of technology adoption in the contemporary world. Through our website ( www.TechnologyandSociety.org), all members have access to publications, conferences, social media groups, blogs, and local events.

We seek nominations for active SSIT volunteers to take up the following positions, which are directly involved in consulting, planning and carrying out the Society’s goals, directions, and activities:

SSIT Board of Governors (BoG) Member-at-Large (2021-2023)
A three-year term as a voting member of the BoG. Meetings via telecon are held monthly. Impactful BoG members are actively involved in SSIT activities (e.g., committees, conferences, publications, Chapters, website, etc.) and take an active role in influencing the future direction and priorities of SSIT. BoG members may be re-elected for no more than two consecutive terms. Three positions (3) become open each year.

The Society would benefit from volunteers with a previous volunteer track record (including but not limited to SSIT or IEEE), and/or experience in Chapter development, membership development, conference planning, fund raising, economics/finance, marketing, content creation, social media and website management.

Self-nominations are welcome, and we invite all SSIT members willing to serve the Society in a leadership position to put their names forward.

If you are interested in nominating yourself or another SSIT member, please submit a one-page synopsis of the nominee’s experience with emphasis on their proposed contribution, strengths and relevant track record to the SSIT Nominations Chair, Prof. Paul M Cunningham, at pcunningham@ieee.org. Please include your IEEE Membership Number and contact information. Nominations are due by 30 April 2020.

If you are nominated another SSIT member, it is necessary to receive their written approval for this nomination in advance of submitting the one-page synopsis showcasing the relevant experience of the nominee. As above the synopsis should include the nominees IEEE Membership Number and a clear articulation of their SSIT track record, specific skills and contribution they can make.
 
 
 
 
Call for Expressions of Interest to Host SSIT Conferences
 
 
IEEE SSIT organizes, co-organizes, and sponsors conferences focused on technology, society and ethics. IEEE SSIT is seeking expressions of interest from SSIT members interested in hosting the following conferences around the world.

IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS)
ISTAS is the flagship conference of IEEE SSIT, addressing issues across the SSIT 5 Pillars (Sustainable Development; Ethics/Human Values; Universal Access; Societal Impacts and Protecting the Planet). Information about IEEE ISTAS 2019 is available here. Preparations for IEEE ISTAS 2020 are ongoing and the Call for Papers will be published during Q1 2020.
Expressions of interest are welcome for 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 2014, 2016, 2018 in India . The 2020 21CW conference will take place from 23-26 July in Chennai, India.
Expressions of interest are welcome for 2022 and 2024.

If you are interested in hosting one of these events, or if you would like further information, please contact SSIT Conferences Chair, Jay Pearlman at jay.pearlman@fourbridges.org.
 
 
 
 
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 (cardinal@ieee.org). 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.
 
 
Publications
 
 
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 katina.michael@asu.edu.
 
 
 
 
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 r.marosy@ieee.org.
 
 
Conferences
 
 
IST-Africa 2020
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 IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, IST-Africa 2020 (Kampala, Uganda, 6-8 May) is the fifteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research and Innovation Conferences addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Organised by the  IST-Africa Institute and IIMC International Information Management Corporation, the IST-Africa Conference Series provides an international platform rotating around Africa to strengthen ICT-enabled Innovation, Science and Technology related policy dialogues within Africa and between Africa and Europe, as well as Global Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building. It also provides an opportunity to showcase innovation and implementation capacity and pressing societal challenges, as well as identify potential partners for future research cooperation under Horizon 2020.

IST-Africa is a unique community that brings together key stakeholder groups from the public, private, education and research, societal sectors with end-user communities around the world, focused on cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary ICT and STI Research and Innovation addressing societal challenges. Each year, there is a particular focus on policy, research and implementation challenges and success stories from the host country perspective, as well as areas requiring coordinated interventions and priorities for the future.

Thematic areas addressed 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.

IST-Africa 2020 Call for Papers closed in December 2019 and was very heavy oversubscribed. Papers submitted are currently under review. The Advance Program will be published in late January 2020.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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:
  • 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 ( gopal@annauniv.edu).
 
 
 
 
Featured Content
 
 
Norbert Wiener and His Impact on India

Submitted by organizers of the 2020 IEEE SSIT Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century T.V. Gopal (Conference Chair) and Greg Adamson (Program Chair)

“As in the case of my earlier experiences in China and Mexico, so in my Indian trip my motive was more than restlessness or idle curiosity. More and more Indian authors are publishing in our scientific journals, and we need the Orient more and more to supplement a West which is showing the intellectual and moral enfeeblement following two World Wars.” - Norbert Wiener, I Am a Mathematician, MIT Press, p.339, 15 August 1964

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Go check out IEEE Tech Talk!

Listen now to our first two episodes. Steve Vozar, CTO and co-Founder of May Mobility speaks about autonomous vehicles and Jacquelyn Adams, CEO of Ristole, talks about essential core skills for technical professionals.