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

Dear SSIT Members,

I hope that you are finding ways to safely negotiate the ongoing anxieties, challenges, and changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into your lives. This month’s newsletter includes an update from SSIT Conferences Chair, Jay Pearlman, about how upcoming SSIT events are being affected by travel restrictions and social distancing.

In addition, you’ll find more typical newsletter fare, such as an introduction to newly-elected SSIT Board of Governors (BoG) Member-at-Large Miriam Cunningham, an activity report from SSIT’s Bahrain Chapter, and several volunteer, publication, and conference opportunities. Note in particular that nominations to the SSIT BoG (2021-2023 term) are due to Paul Cunningham by 30 April 2020.

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
SSIT Conferences Update
Submitted by Jay Pearlman, SSIT Conferences Chair
I want to take a moment to reach out to our SSIT members and newsletter readers, and share what is happening with SSIT Conferences. Communication is critical for all of us, particularly at an historical moment like this when our experiences don't give us insights on what to expect or how to plan. Having spent a month now at home, I see the good and the bad, the changes in the way we work and how families gather. Planning conferences is especially challenging right now since we don’t have a clear view of what the coming months hold; however, SSIT’s conference committees are working hard to ensure that our upcoming events are a success even amidst this uncertainty.

The third Norbert Wiener Conference "Being Human in a Global Village" (a subject very apropos to the times) was to be held in India in late July in conjunction with Anna University’s 225th anniversary celebration. Conference Chair Prof. T V Gopal and his team recently made the decision to postpone the conference to 22-25 July 2021. More details about the rescheduled event will be available on the website soon, and specific questions can be addressed to gopal@annauniv.edu.

SSIT’s flagship conference, ISTAS 2020, is scheduled for 12-15 November in Tempe, Arizona. Organized by a team led by Prof. Katina Michael, ISTAS 2020 is focused on Public Interest Technology (PIT)—technology that addresses societal needs and challenges. While we hope that travel restrictions will ease by November, we are working to have alternative participation options available for conference presenters and attendees should they be necessary. We look forward to an exciting event in November. Please submit your abstracts by the 14 August deadline.

SSIT’s conference organizers and I are happy to discuss event details, as well as our responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the websites above for ongoing updates, and feel free to contact me.

I hope you are well and that you and your family are adapting to the environment we are all facing.
Meet the newest SSIT Board Members
We are happy to continue our series of introductions to the new members of the SSIT Board of Governors (BoG). These bios are designed to let you know more about our volunteer leadership team and its members’ areas of expertise and backgrounds, goals for their time on the SSIT BoG, and 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 Miriam Cunningham.

Miriam Cunningham is a Senior Consultant focusing on ICT and Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) related policy analysis, research, implementation and adaptation, and the impact of Research and Innovation (R&I) on Sustainable Development. She has extensive experience as Principal Investigator on a portfolio of large-scale R&I and ICT4D cross-border projects in Europe and Africa, undertaking fieldwork, as well as serving as a technology expert with the European Commission, World Bank, and Research Council of Norway. Miriam is a graduate of University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and DSV, Stockholm University.

Miriam has many years’ experience cooperating with and supporting key Innovation Ecosystem Stakeholders including Ministries responsible for Innovation, Science, and Technology in 18 African Member States in the context of IST-Africa and Ministries of Health and other key health sector stakeholders in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa in the context of mHealth4Afrika.

Miriam is an IEEE Senior Member, IEEE SSIT Board of Governors Member (2020 - 2022), and Co-founder of IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT, focusing on digital literacy and capacity building in Africa. She was Program and Publications Chair for IEEE ISTAS (2015, 2017 – 2019) and also supported local arrangements. Miriam has been a reviewer for IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) since 2016 and is Health Track Chair IEEE GHTC 2020. She was a member of IEEE SIGHT Events Committee (2016) and reviewed IEEE SIGHT projects (2018).

Miriam is focused on supporting Sustainable Development and Conference activities in SSIT, which are key to strengthening the impact and relevance of our Society. You can contact her at miriam@iimg.com.
Chapter Activity Update: SSIT-Bahrain Chapter
Submitted by Adel Abdulla

On 16 January 2020, Dr. Adel Ahmed Hamed (Secretary, Bahrain Section) delivered a lecture on how we can “Study, Work, and Live in an Electronically Safe Environment” at the AMA International University, Bahrain.

His speech introduced the idea that the excessive use of technology puts human health and even life in danger. At the beginning of the electric age, it was believed that electricity’s only risk was an electric shock. Nobody paid attention to the effects of the surrounding electric and magnetic fields.


He discussed how electro-magnetic waves may be dangerous due to their penetration ability (which depends on frequency, modulation type, pulse/ impulse nature, etc.), and the fact that they induce currents which may interfere with those in the nervous system of the body. In addition, he covered different sources of radiation, forms of protection that people can use, and some of the research gaps and societal challenges that scientists and policymakers are currently addressing.

Call for Nominations to SSIT Leadership Roles
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 pcunningham@ieee.org. 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 next  21CW conference will take place from 22-25 July 2021 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.
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.
IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society
Editor in chief Katina Michael is pleased to announce that the inaugural issue of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society is now available. The journal will publish four issues each year (March, June, September, and December), and submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. 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!

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 katina.michael@asu.edu.
Contribute to The Artifice
Submitted by Alyson Burston
The Artifice is an online magazine that covers a wide spectrum of art forms, including Film, Anime, Comics, Literature, Games, and Arts. It is collaboratively built and maintained by the writers. The platform has an established audience of millions.

Instead of recycling the same entertainment news stories or publishing commonplace editorials, The Artifice focuses on unique topics that are intellectually stimulating and meaningful.

We are currently expanding and we would like to provide an opportunity to join our team of writers, who range from undergraduates to emeritus professors. Additional information is available here.
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.
IST-Africa 2020
Virtual Conference
In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, to protect the health, and wellbeing of the IST-Africa Community, it has been agreed with the Government of Uganda through the host MoSTI that it is not appropriate in the current circumstances to hold a physical meeting in Kampala as originally foreseen in early May. The timing of a virtual or hybrid conference will be published in May.

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 (originally scheduled for 6-8 May in Kampala, Uganda) 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.
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 Extended Deadline 1 May

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 the extended deadline of 1 May 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 12-15 November 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.
IEEE 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW2020): Being Human in a Global Village
Chennai, India
   | 22-25 July 2021 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 21CW2020 conference, which was originally scheduled for July 2020, has been postponed until next summer. It will take place from 22-25 July 2021. Additional details will be soon available on the conference website; specific questions can be directed to 21CW2020 Conference Chair, Prof. T. V. Gopal, Anna University, India (gopal@annauniv.edu).

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 upcoming 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.

This conference has three general themes:
  • The state of technologies initiated by Norbert 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 concept “global village.” 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.

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