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

Dear SSIT Members,

It has been a busy month for SSIT, with the Society’s annual flagship conference, ISTAS 2020, running from 12-15 November. The virtual event, which was hosted by Arizona State University, included over 200 presentations and was co-located with the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) annual meeting. Kudos and thank you to Katina Michael (General Chair) and the whole ISTAS 2020 conference committee. I hope that many readers had a chance to attend the event and hear from the fantastic speakers who presented – stay tuned for a detailed conference report in an upcoming newsletter!

This month’s issue includes several big announcements and opportunities for SSIT members, so I hope that you will read ahead to learn more about:
  • A chance to enrich SSIT programming through a new Matching Challenge for the SSIT fund, which is running from now until the end of 2020.
  • SSIT members who have received top IEEE awards
  • Newly elected SSIT Board of Governors Members at Large
  • The ongoing SSIT Membership Drive (please renew today, and remember to say “YES” when prompted to subscribe to the IEEE Transactions on Technology & Society - it’s only US$10!)
  • Publication and conference opportunities
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 by the first week of the month.
SSIT Announcements
SSIT Fund: New Donation Challenge
Submitted by Bob Dent, SSIT President
A very generous SSIT member has issued a challenge to other donors to the SSIT Fund.

Donations to the Fund up to US$5,000 will be matched 2:1 by the challenger. This challenge starts immediately and ends on 31 December 2020.

I invite you to be part of this challenge by making your gift today. You can donate at Simply click on the DONATE button, and follow the instructions on the next screen!

In the USA, 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.

Your donation will be used to support new levels of activities of our Technical Committees, Standards, Publications, and Chapters.

I hope you will accept the challenge.

Thank you in advance for your generous support.
ISTAS 2020: Congratulations and Thank You!
SSIT’s flagship conference, the International Symposium on Technology and Society, convened from 12-15 November, 2020 as a virtual event hosted by Arizona State University.

We hope to publish a detailed conference report in a future newsletter issue, but for now, we would like to congratulate and thank the members of the ISTAS 2020 conference committee on running such a successful event amidst the extra challenges that COVID-19 has brought this year.

A sincere thanks go out to everyone who attended and/or presented at ISTAS 2020.
Two SSIT Members Receive Award Recognition from IEEE
SSIT members have received two of the IEEE’s highest awards this year. Congratulations to:

Leah H. Jamieson, recipient of the 2020 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.


John Vig, recipient of the 2020 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award.

Although the in-person IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit & Honors Ceremony could not take place this year, the Awards Channel on includes videos about each recipient, available at the links above.
SSIT Board of Governors Elections Results
Submitted by Paul M. Cunningham, SSIT Nominations Chair
A ballot for the election of three members to the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology Board of Governors was issued on 14 August 2020 with a deadline of 29 September.

IEEE counted the ballots returned and confirmed that the following candidates have been elected for a three-year term (1 January 2021 – 31 December 2023):

We wish to congratulate the members who were elected and wish them a successful term on the Board of Governors.

We would like to thank all candidates who put their name forward for consideration and all SSIT members who voted during this process.

SusTech Talk on 24 November: Cognitive Approaches to Building Safe/Smart Cities & Societies
You are invited to attend a (virtual) talk on “Cognitive Approaches to Building Safe/Smart Cities and Societies” on 24 November 2020, from 5:00-7:00pm, Pacific Time.

Additional information about the talk, and a link to register, are available at the event page.

This event is one in a series of talks on Sustainability that are part of the lead-up to the April 2021 SusTech conference.
Webinars and Professional Education Courses from MIT D-Lab
Submitted by Sher Vogel
The MIT D-Lab, which works to “develop and advance collaborative approaches and practical solutions to global poverty challenges” and to “apply inclusive innovation as a methodology for tackling poverty,” is pleased to invite the SSIT community to participate in the following events:

​The first is a free 1 hr introduction webinar on Why Inclusive Innovation? Why now? by Elizabeth Hoffecker available on demand here. The webinar introduces the concept of “inclusive innovation,” and discusses why it is a critical approach for now and what we have learned is needed to catalyze and facilitate it effectively at a global scale.

The second is a free 1 hr introduction webinar on Inclusive Business: Innovation and Resilience in Today's World is ​ available on demand here. This webinar introduces inclusive business, why it matters now in the midst of COVID-19, and a few cases of how other companies have applied it for more inclusive and sustainable business.

Lastly, we recently ​decided to take both of our MIT Professional Education courses online for this coming June. Early bird registration is open until 1 Dec 2020 ​for both Inclusive Innovation: Designing for a Better World as well as Applied Inclusive Business: Scaling Technology in Low-Income Markets. Both courses count towards the MIT Professional Education Certificate Program in Innovation and Technology.
2020-2021 SSIT Membership Drive Underway
Submitted by Anasuya Devi, SSIT Membership Chair

Warm greetings to IEEE SSIT’s current and future members! Our 2020-2021 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.


Please consider subscribing to SSIT’s new publication, the IEEE Transactions on Technology & Society, as part of your membership renewal. Members pay only US$10 for this benefit!

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.
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 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!

Note that submissions are currently being accepted for a SPECIAL ISSUE on the topic:
After COVID-19: Crises, Ethics, and Socio-Technical Change,” which is slated for September 2021 publication (Details available HERE). Confirmed guest editors are:
  • Rafael A. Calvo, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London
  • Sebastian Deterding, Digital Creativity Labs, University of York
  • Catherine Flick, Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University
  • Christoph Luetge, Institute for Ethics in AI, Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  • Alison Powell, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Jack Stilgoe, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London
  • Karina Vold, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto & University of Cambridge
For expressions of interest to serve on the editorial board as an ongoing reviewer or associate editor, or for other inquiries please email founding editor-in-chief
IEEE Systems Journal
Submitted by Amir Aghdam, Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Systems Journal
The IEEE Systems Journal provides a systems-level, focused forum for application-oriented manuscripts that address complex systems and system-of-systems of national and global significance. It intends to encourage and facilitate cooperation and interaction among IEEE Societies with systems-level and systems engineering interest, and to attract non-IEEE contributors and readers from around the globe. For example, it publishes original contributions on how to deal with disaster response such as that triggered by hurricanes, tsunamis, or current volcanic eruptions that are not solvable by pure engineering solutions.

More details on the journal scope can be found here.

We invite you to consider this journal as one of the venues where your systems-oriented research results can be published.
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.
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.

Although the regular CFP deadline has passed, there is still time to submit to the Student Poster Contest. Cash prizes will be awarded. Abstracts are due 15 Dec. 2020. See announcement here.

NEW! SusTech Talks – online, last Tuesday of the month. Check website for announcements.
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.
  • 1 December 2020: Proposals for workshops or larger-scale associated events
  • 31 December 2020: Early call for peer-reviewed papers and abstract-only submissions, including papers, posters, panels, and roundtable discussions (decision by 31 January 2021)
  • 1 March 2021: Regular call for peer-reviewed papers and abstract-only submissions (decision by 15 April 2021)
  • 31 May 2021: Final submission of accepted peer-reviewed papers due, and last call for abstract-only submissions (decision by 15 June 2021)