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

Dear SSIT Members,

September has brought with it a flurry of back-to-school logistics work for many of us – I hope that you are all faring well in what I’m sure are newly challenging work environments.

This newsletter features:
  • The EXTENDED 14 Oct. deadline for submitting to the upcoming (12-15 November) SSIT ISTAS virtual conference
  • Recent activities organized by IEEE SSIT in Madras and Kerala
  • Several upcoming conference opportunities whose virtual formats should make participation possible for a much wider audience than usual. The events include:
    • A FREE conference on the influence of science fiction on technical and social change, which takes place on 10 October 2020, and 
    • A workshop on 16 October 2020 for electrical engineers (with a session on engineering ethics) where participants can earn PDH credits.
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 in the first week of the month.
SSIT Announcements
ISTAS 2020 EXTENDED Deadline: 14 October 2020
SSIT’s flagship conference, the International Symposium on Technology and Society, will take place this coming 12-15 November 2020 as a virtual event hosted by Arizona State University. See "Conferences" section below for more information, and note that the submission deadline has been extended to 14 October 2020. Detailed instructions and the conference CFP are available here.
Activity Report: IEEE SSIT Madras and Kerala Section
Submitted by Nvaneethakrishnan Ramanathan
From 28 July – 3 August 2020, the IEEE YESIST12, IEEE SSIT Madras Section, and IETE, Coimbatore Centre organized a one-week International Skill Development Program on “Technologies & Research Approaches in Artificial Intelligence.” 42 participants from seven countries attended the session.

In addition, on 17 August 2020, the SSIT Chapters Committee and the IEEE SSIT Madras and Kerala section chapters organized jointly an event on “INDIA in the age of COVID-19, Aadhaar, Population Explosion, Urbanization and Climate Change: Challenges, Opportunities and the Social Implications of Science and Technology.”

A five-day online faculty development program on Research issues in advanced VLSI design was organized by the QIS College of Engineering & Technology, Ongole, Andra Pradesh India and the IEEE SSIT Madras Section Chapter.
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 in India 2014, 2016, 2018. 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. 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
The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society publishes 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, and be sure to read the June 2020 issue of the journal, which is now available.

Please show your support for this new SSIT initiative by subscribing today!

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
Ethical Dilemmas
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 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. The IEEE Legal Department requires that all articles be fully sanitized to protect the privacy of people and organizations.

An example of a previously published ethical dilemma story, by Bruce Hunter, is available in the June 2020 SSIT newsletter.

Submit manuscripts to Rosann Marosy.
Free Conference: Does Science Fiction Influence Technical and Social Change?
Virtual Event, Hosted by IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section
 | 10 October 2020
SSIT is technical co-sponsor of this FREE one-day conference, which runs from 11:30 – 17:00 on 10 October 2020. The event’s overarching question is:

When looking at those times when science fiction has seemed to predict a change in technology or social behavior, are we witnessing a real effect, or only a coincidental alignment of circumstances?” Can ‘art,’ in general, influence technology and society?

The conference program includes a keynote by Dr. Lisa Nocks titled “The Science Fiction Android as Gedankenexperiment” and panels focused on the following topics:
  • Will SF help lead us to an integrated C + FE future?
  • In what ways may SF and STEM reduce inequality and promote human wellbeing?
  • Does Science Fiction Influence Technical and Social Change?
Zoom connection information will be provided to participants three days before the event.
Workshop on Electrical Engineering 2020
Virtual Event, Hosted by Syracuse University
 | 16 October 2020
This workshop for all Professional Engineers in the field of Electrical Engineering is scheduled for Friday, 16 October 2020 from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT

Workshop participants will be able to earn up to 9 PDH credits approved by New York State Practicing Institute of Engineering.

The workshop will cover diverse topics in the field of Electrical Engineering designed for industry and academia personnel. The workshop will be presented by faculty from Syracuse University and other Universities as well as industry professionals. It will cover a wide range of topics including engineering ethics, and demonstration of laboratory experiments.

If you have questions, please contact Prasanta Ghosh, PhD and William H. Maxwell, PE at
Seattle, Washington
 | 29 October - 1 November 2020
The 10th Anniversary of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) will take place in Seattle from 29 October to 01 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).

Hybrid and virtual presentation options are available for participation in the event.

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
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
Virtual Event
 | 12-15 November 2020 

SSIT’s flagship conference, the International Symposium on Technology and Society, will take place this coming 12-15 November 2020 as a virtual event. 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. 

Submissions of abstracts, short papers, and full papers are due by the EXTENDED deadline of  14 October 2020. Detailed instructions and the conference CFP are available here.

Registration is now open! An updated fee schedule and information about how to apply for free registration are available here.

Find out more about the ISTAS theme, venue, confirmed speakers, workshops, and submission process here.
SUSTECH 2021: How Emerging Technologies are Driving Sustainability
Virtual Event
   | 22-24 April 2021 

The 8th IEEE Technologies for Sustainability Conference ( SusTech 2021) is designed to explore the development and application of science, engineering and technology in achieving a sustainable lifestyle for humanity. It brings together scientists, engineers, technologists and scholars from multiple disciplines to hold a dialogue on environmental issues and collaborate on ideas to develop and utilize innovative tools and intelligent systems to address them. Attendees will learn about the tools, connections and proactive solutions to take their sustainability programs to the next level. SusTech 2021 will feature technical papers, posters and workshops.

Papers are solicited for verbal presentations from industry, government, and academia (including students) covering relevant research, technologies, methodologies, tools and case studies. Topics with policy implications are also welcome.

There will be a separate Student Poster Contest. Cash prizes will be awarded. Abstracts due 15 December 2020. See announcement here.

NEW! SusTech Talks – online, last Tuesday of the month. Check website for announcements.
2021 Key Dates:
Submission Deadline for papers (or extended abstract): 1 November 2020
Acceptance notification: 15 December 2020
Early registration opens: 15 December 2020
Student Poster Abstracts submission deadline: 15 December 2020
Final Paper submission deadline: 30 January 2021
Early Registration ends: 15 March 2021
Call for Reviewers:
The peer-review process is a critical part of ensuring the quality and novelty of the papers and presentations at SusTech. If you are interested in being a reviewer, please complete the brief application form linked here. Please note that the timeline for paper submission and review has changed from previous years, with reviews starting in early October. We expect that each reviewer will be asked to review 4 to 6 submissions. Contact if you are interested, or fill out the application form.

Sponsors for SusTech 2021 include the IEEE Oregon, Phoenix, San Fernando Valley, Inland Empire (Foothil), Orange County, Metro Los Angeles, and Coastal Los Angeles Sections, IEEE Region 6, IEEE-USA; and co-sponsored by IEEE PES, SSIT and TEMS Societies.
10th International Conference on Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine
Seattle, Washington
   | 24-25 April 2021 

The 10th International Conference on Ethics in Biology, Engineering, and Medicine will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA, 24-25 April 2021. This conference has been endorsed by SSIT.

Please follow the link below and visit the event website for further information regarding the program.
The conference is being organized by Subrata Saha (Ph.D., Affiliate Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry and Affiliate Instructor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Washington), who has recently been elected as the member of the inaugural class of Fellows of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honors Society.
IEEE 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW2020): Being Human in a Global Village
Chennai, India
   | 22-25 July 2021 

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.