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

Dear SSIT Members,

This month brings with it big SSIT news: the launch of our new publication, the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society. Please support this important new journal and subscribe today – the SSIT-member rate is a bargain at only US$10 (US$5 if you’re a Student).

We hope that you are all finding ways to navigate the various modifications to travel, work, and life activities that have become necessary in response to the COVID-19 virus. The SSIT Board of Governors is monitoring the situation as we develop plans for upcoming conferences and meetings, and we will keep you apprised of any changes that arise.

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 Transactions on Technology and Society: Inaugural Issue Now Available!
Editor in chief Katina Michael is pleased to announce that the inaugural issue of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society is now available.

Be sure to check out the issue’s introductory editorial piece, “ Dealing with Technological Trajectories: Where We Have Come From and Where We Are Going” (Katina Michael, Roba Abbas, George Roussos, Eusebio Scornavacca, and Samuel Fosso-Wamba) as well as the four full papers:

Subscription rates for SSIT members are only US$10 (US$5 for SSIT Student members) for the first year. Please show your support for this new SSIT initiative by subscribing today!

Meet the newest SSIT Board Members

As you’ll see from the updated SSIT Board of Governors (BoG) page, several new names have been added to our leadership roster. We look forward to introducing these new volunteers to the broader SSIT community over the coming months so that you can find out more about their areas of expertise and backgrounds, their goals for their time on the SSIT BoG, and their more general aspirations for the future of our Society.

We encourage you to contact BoG members whose interests and areas of expertise overlap with your own, and we hope that these introductions can serve as a starting point for building camaraderie and connections within SSIT as a whole.

This month, we present newly-elected Member-at-Large Joe Herkert, a volunteer whose name is likely familiar to many of you.


Joseph (Joe) Herkert, DSc, is Emeritus Associate Professor of Science, Technology & Society (STS) at North Carolina State University. Herkert has been teaching engineering ethics and STS courses for more than thirty years. He is editor of Social, Ethical and Policy Implications of Engineering (2000) and co-editor of The Growing Gap between Emerging Technologies and Legal-Ethical Oversight (2011), and has published numerous articles on engineering ethics and societal implications of technology in engineering, law, social science, and applied ethics journals.


Herkert currently serves as the Engineering Editor for the Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science (, hosted by the National Academy of Engineering, and has been a leader in many professional organizations including the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an ASEE Fellow, and a Life Senior Member of IEEE. Prior to his academic career, Herkert was a consultant in the electric power industry for more than five years and became a registered PE.

Herkert previously served SSIT from 1991 – 2015 in numerous roles, including Society President (1995-96) and Editor-in-Chief of Technology and Society Magazine (2003-07). He was recipient of the first SSIT Distinguished Service Award (2007) and co-recipient of the IEEE Division VI Distinguished Leadership Award (2016). He’s happy to again serve on the Board of Governors to help provide links between SSIT’s past, present and future as the go-to IEEE resource for research, education, professional service, and community service in the area of social implications of technology. Contact Joe Herkert at

Call for Nominations to SSIT Leadership Roles
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 the SSIT website, all SSIT members have access to publications, conferences, social media groups, blogs, and local events.

We seek nominations from active SSIT volunteers to take up the following positions, which are directly involved in engaging and consulting with Society Chapter and Committee Leadership, and guiding and supporting the planning and execution of the Society’s goals, directions, and activities:
SSIT Board of Governors (BoG) Member-at-Large (2021-2023)
Elected BoG members serve a three-year term. 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 (2) consecutive terms. Three (3) positions for voting BoG members become open each year.

The Society would particularly benefit from volunteers with a previous volunteer track record (including but not limited to SSIT), and/or experience in chapter development, membership development, conference planning, fundraising, finance, marketing, content creation, as well as social media and website management.

Self-nominations are welcome, and we invite all SSIT members willing to serve the Society in a senior 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 Please include your IEEE Membership Number and contact information. Nominations are due by 30 April 2020.

If you are nominating 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 2020 is available here.

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
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.
Update: IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society
The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society has just launched its first issue. The journal will publish four issues each year (March, June, September, and December), and submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

The editorial team seeks research papers on the interactions among technology, science, and society; on the impact of such interactions on individuals and society; and on the ethical, professional and social responsibility in the practice of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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 founding editor-in-chief
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
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 Sustainable Development and 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 interdisciplinary 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.

The IST-Africa 2020 Advance Programme incorporates plenary sessions and 32 thematically focused sessions featuring over 130 presenters from public, private, education, research and societal organisations from 31 countries. Early Bird Registration is available up to 31 March.
IEEE 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW2020): Being Human in a Global Village
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:
  • 20 March 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 (
IEEE Sections Congress 2020
Ottawa, Canada
  | 21-23 August 2020 

IEEE Sections Congress is the triennial flagship event hosted by IEEE that brings together the grassroot leadership of IEEE from every member country so that they can share ideas, concerns & solutions.

Prof. Paul M Cunningham (SSIT Past President) in his role of Director-Elect, IEEE Division VI is member of the TAB Ad-hoc for Sections Congress and supporting Division VI Societies to prepare a number of sessions for inclusion in the Program.

SSIT will be represented in a number of panels in cooperation with other Division VI Societies. Prof. Paul M Cunningham (SSIT Past President, Director-Elect, IEEE Division VI, R8) and Prof. Beth-Anne Schuelke-Leech (Chair, IEEE SSIT Standards Committee) will share insights and mini case studies during the Panel Discussion on Panel Discussion on Ethics, Technology and Artificial Intelligence. Miriam Cunningham (Board of Governors, IEEE SSIT; Member, IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT, R8) will share insights and case studies during the Panel Discussion on Impactful Sustainable Development Activities.
Seattle, Washington
 | 29 October - 1 November 2020 

Call for Papers Deadline 31 March

The 10th Anniversary of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) will take place in Seattle from 29 October to 1 November 2020. IEEE GHTC 2020 will share practical technology-enabled solutions addressing needs of underserved communities in resource constrained environments around the world in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Stakeholders from the public, private, education and research, societal, funding and donor sectors are invited to submit papers (or proposals for oral presentations) by 31 March sharing Sustainable Development, ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development) and Humanitarian Technology related insights, experiences, good practices and lessons learnt from a research, policy, practitioner and/or community perspective. Papers should present analysis of initial or final research results or a case study. General project descriptions are not appropriate.

Submissions by practitioners (governmental, for-profit and non-profit), academics, private sector actors and policy makers describing intervention design and implementation, field experiences and best practices, case studies, project monitoring and evaluation results, and original research are of particular interest. Paper submissions should include results that have not previously been published and should not be simultaneously submitted to another conference or journal.

IEEE GHTC 2020 Thematic areas include (but are not limited to)
  • Agriculture & Food Security (SDG2)
  • Good Health and Well Being (SDG3)
  • Quality Education (SDG4)
  • Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG6)
  • Affordable & Clean Energy (SDG7)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8)
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11)
  • Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery
  • Communication/Connectivity in Support of Development
Three types of submissions are possible for presentation at GHTC:
  • Full Papers are appropriate for mature work or completed projects and should not exceed eight pages.
  • Short Papers are appropriate for early stage projects or authors wishing to share a snapshot of results-in-progress, experiences and perspectives, and should be three to four pages in length including a short reference section.
  • Oral-Only (Poster) Presentations are appropriate for work-in-progress, projects in the pre-implementation stage as well as an option for practitioners, policy makers or community representatives who do not want to write a paper. Oral-Only submissions should be described in one or two pages.
Complementing the 2020 IEEE GHTC Conference Proceedings, accepted full papers presented during the conference will also be submitted for publication in IEEE Xplore®. Short Papers and Oral-Only Presentations will be accepted for presentation either during an appropriate paper session or poster session at the discretion of the Program Committee.

IEEE GHTC 2020 is sponsored by IEEE Region 6, IEEE Seattle Section and IEEE Society for Social Implications of Technology; with confirmed and expected Technical Co-Sponsors including: Consumer Electronics (CES), Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS), Power & Energy (PES), and Microwave Theory and Techniques (MTTS) and IEEE-USA.
ISTAS 2020: Public Interest Technology
Tempe, Arizona
 | 12-15 November 2020 

SSIT’s flagship conference, the International Symposium on Technology and Society, will take place this coming November 12-15, 2020, in Tempe, Arizona. Hosted by Arizona State University, ISTAS 2020 will convene at the same time as the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) meeting, offering new and exciting opportunities for collaboration.

Follow the link below to find out more about the ISTAS theme, venue, confirmed speakers, and submission process, and stay tuned for more information about the event in future newsletters.