February 2021
Message from the Editor
Heather Love, Editor, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) Newsletter

Dear SSIT Members,

I hope that February has been treating you well so far, and that you’ll enjoy this issue of the SSIT Newsletter, which includes announcements about several upcoming events and deadlines that should be of interest to many SSIT members. Please read on to find out about:

  • The new Chair of the SSIT Standards Committee, Ruth Lewis
  • The fast-approaching deadline (1 March) to submit proposals to:
    • a HAC/SIGHTS Call for projects related to COVID-19 Responses, and
    • the SSIT’s summer 2021 Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century
  • An upcoming SSIT Distinguished Lecture by society president, Clint Andrews.
  • SSIT’s flagship conference, ISTAS21: Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation
  • Opportunities for volunteer engagement related to the SSIT website, conference portfolio, awards program, and newsletter series
  • Several NEW 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 items, please contact me at Heather.Love@uwaterloo.ca. Submissions for each newsletter are due by the first week of the month.

SSIT Announcements
Introducing Ruth Lewis, Chair of the SSIT Standards Committee
Ruth Lewis, BE (Elec), Grad Dip Digital Communications, Master of Strategic Foresight

We are pleased to introduce the new Chair of the SSIT Standards Committee, Ruth Lewis. Ruth is an experienced strategic IT consultant, qualified futurist and professional engineer, having worked across many industries, sectors and technologies with a particular focus on the innovative and ethical use of digital technology in business and in society. Ruth’s career has spanned 30 years developing and designing IT solutions for her clients, as a network engineer, senior technical consultant, solutions architect, business analyst and Technology Foresight professional. Her expertise is in introducing new technologies to business, creating managed services and creating innovative governance models within organizations. Ruth’s passion is to work towards the ethical development and use of technology for the good of society, enabling her clients to make wise and informed decisions and investments today to enable their preferred futures.

Ruth has been an active contributing member of the IEEE P7000 Working Group, Comments Resolution Groups and Process Subgroup since November 2017, is a member of the IEEE SA AsiaPac Regional Advisory Group, is the IEEE Victorian Section SA Coordinator, and has been a member of the IEEE SSIT Standards Committee since April 2020.
IEEE HAC/SIGHTS Call for Proposals Focused on COVID-19 Response (1 March)

The following IEEE HAC/SIGHTS Call for Proposals may be of interest to SSIT members. Note the fast-approaching deadline of 1 March 2021.

The IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) and IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) have announced the first funding opportunity of 2021! The IEEE HAC/SIGHT Projects Call for Proposals Focused on COVID-19 Response is being offered to support IEEE member grassroots humanitarian technology and sustainable development projects that utilize technology to address the COVID-19 situation.

As the pandemic has not only affected health, but also exacerbated poverty and laid bare systemic inequality throughout the world, HAC/SIGHT are prioritizing immediate impact, poverty mitigation and inequality reduction through the following project areas:
  • Food Security
  • Infection Control Devices
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Medical Devices
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Sustainable Power Sources
  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
  • Other pandemic-related topics

Given the rapidly evolving situation and focus on immediate impact, HAC/SIGHT will make awards of US$1,000 to US$5,000 per project. Projects that have previously been awarded funding by HAC/SIGHT must have successfully completed their project and submitted all reporting requirements in order to apply for additional funding for replication and/or scaling.

IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century: Being Human in a Global Village (1 March, CFP Deadline)
Anna University, Chennai, India
22-25 July 2021
The 1 March 2021 deadline for submission of papers and abstracts to the third installment of SSIT’s conference series on the legacy of cybernetician “Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century” (21CW2020) is fast approaching!

This year’s conference theme, “ Being Human in a Global Village” 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. In-person events will take place at Anna University (Chennai, India), and opportunities for virtual participation are available.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers for the conference include:
  • Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala (Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras)
  • Dr. Katina Michael (Director, Centre for Engineering, Policy and Society, Arizona State University, USA & Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society)
  • Dr. Sergio Bittanti (Professor, Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
  • Witold Pedrycz (Canada Research Chair, University of Alberta, Canada, and IEEE Fellow)

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala


Dr. Katina Michael


Dr. Sergio Bittanti


Witold Pedrycz

Please follow the link below for additional information about the CFP and paper/abstract submission process.
Upcoming IEEE SSIT Distinguished Lecture: Clint Andrews on “Working in the Smart City” (11 March, Virtual Event)
The IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, Santa Clara Valley SSIT Chapter, Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Baltimore SSIT Chapter and a number of other SSIT Chapters are cooperating to organise this SSIT Distinguished Lecture (DL) as a joint Chapter Webinar. All IEEE Members and in particular, SSIT Members are invited to register and participate. IEEE Members should include their IEEE Membership Number when registering. This DL is also open to non-IEEE Members.

This joint meeting will take place online at 1pm (EST) / 6pm (UTC) on 11 March 2021. Registered participants will be provided with the link prior to the event.

This Distinguished Lecture (DL) examines how the relationship between physical space, cyberspace, technology, and the workplace has developed over time; how power relations embedded in these overlapping physical and cyberspaces constrain our behaviour, and what novel ethical and equity concerns arise in the context of the emerging Smart City. Findings include identification of multiple points where control of overlapping physical and cyber spaces either enables or prevents fragmentation of work activities. These carry important implications for those who work in the Smart City as well as those designing Smart Cities.

Please complete registration by 10 March.
Announcing the 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS21): Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Hybrid Online/In-Person Event)
28-31 October 2021
The IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) is the flagship conference of the IEEE’s Society on the Social Implications of Technology—the oldest Society and conference of its kind. ISTAS is a multi/inter/trans‐disciplinary forum for engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, philosophers, researchers, social scientists, technologists, and polymaths to collaborate, exchange experiences, and discuss the social implications of technology.

The 2021 IEEE ISTAS Conference Committee invites you to be part of this year's flagship SSIT conference. Hosted as a hybrid event by the University of Waterloo and University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) from 28-31 October 2021, ISTAS21 will take place online, with select in-person, live-streamed activities in Waterloo—COVID-19 permitting.

The overall conference theme for ISTAS21 is Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation. Through partnerships with several organizations in the Waterloo/Guelph region, ISTAS21 will feature programming related to the following conference subthemes:
  • Health Systems
  • Privacy & Security
  • Artificial Intelligence & Automation
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Ethics & Technology

We hope you will join the ISTAS21 email list to receive periodic updates (your email address will not be shared further).

In addition, be sure to visit the ISTAS21 website for additional details about the Call for Papers, submission deadlines, speakers, registration, sponsorship/patronage opportunities, and more. Website content will be updated regularly over the coming months.

We hope to see you either in-person or virtually at this year's conference in Waterloo.
-Rozita Dara and Heather Love, ISTAS21 Conference Co-Chairs

Invitation to Provide, Promote, and Publish SSIT Website Content
Suggest New SSIT Website Content
All SSIT Members and SSIT Chapters are invited to submit relevant content for publication on www.technologyandsociety.org, including but not limited to notifications on upcoming events and conferences, updates on technical activities, articles and links to videos related to SSIT's thematic areas of interest, so they can be shared with the wider technical and professional community.

The goal is to ensure that the SSIT website reflects all ongoing activities across the Society, including activities at Chapter, Committee and member level.

Please send articles, event notifications and other relevant content including pictures to Miriam Cunningham, SSIT Web Committee Chair.

Promote Existing SSIT Website Content and Related Events
In addition, all SSIT Members are requested to add @IEEESSIT to Tweets that relate to SSIT activities, so these can be republished on the SSIT Twitter account. SSIT Members are also invited to retweet relevant postings published about SSIT activities on their own Twitter accounts.

It would be very helpful if SSIT Members proactively Tweet links to full articles, event notifications and other content resources published on the SSIT website, so as to actively drive traffic to the SSIT website.

Call for Volunteers with WordPress Content Publishing and Design Skills
SSIT Members are also invited to volunteer to support ongoing website content publishing. Ideally, these volunteers should have previous experience updating content on WordPress customizations. However, training and support will be provided as necessary.

Please also highlight design skills that could be applied to prepare design elements and brochures for SSIT dissemination.

Please send a summary of your past experience and interest in publishing website content or preparing design elements on a voluntary basis to Miriam Cunningham, SSIT Web Committee Chair.

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 2023.

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 2023.

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 visit the Transactions section of the SSIT website to read about current and past issues.

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

Note that submissions for a SPECIAL ISSUE on the topic:
After COVID-19: Crises, Ethics, and Socio-Technical Change,” will be accepted until 1 March 2021. The issue is slated for September 2021 publication (Details available HERE), and 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 katina.michael@asu.edu.
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 Marmon Pine, is available in the December 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.

NEW! SusTech Talks – online, last Tuesday of the month. Check website for announcements.
Sponsors for SusTech 2021 include the IEEE Oregon, Phoenix, San Fernando Valley, Inland Empire (Foothill), 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.
IST-Africa 2021 - Advance Programme / Early Bird Registration

Hosted by the Government of South Africa through the Department of Science and Innovation and supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa Week 2021 (10-14 May) is the sixteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research and Innovation Conferences.

Due to the unprecedented circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic and based on the success of IST-Africa 2020, to protect the health and well-being of IST-Africa Community Members, IST-Africa 2021 will take place as a virtual event from 10-14 May.

IST-Africa 2021 has confirmed Technical Co-Sponsorship by IEEE Africa Council, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, IEEE Education Society, IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society, IEEE South Africa Section, IEEE Tunisia Section, IEEE Uganda Section and IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter.

IST-Africa Week 2021 provides a world-class international forum to showcase existing and emerging technology-enabled Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and ICT4D activities and capacity in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world. The Conference Programme combines strategic keynote presentations, technical and policy papers and case studies. It also provides an opportunity to identify potential partners for future research and innovation cooperation under Horizon Europe, and other international funding programs.

The Scientific Programme for IST-Africa 2020 is based on a double-blind peer review of full papers submitted. The Call for Papers, which closed in late December 2020, was heavily oversubscribed. The Advance Programme incorporates thematically focused sessions featuring presenters from public, private, education and research organisations in fields including 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.

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
   | 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 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)
HISTELCON 2021 – Preliminary CFP

Moscow, Russia
 | 18-20 August 2021

HISTELCON is an IEEE Region 8 conference covering topics in the area of Technology History, held about every two years.

HISTELCON 2019 was in the IEEE UK and Ireland Section (Glasgow, Scotland), and the Region 8 Committee has agreed that HISTELCON 2021 will be in Moscow, Russia. Sponsorship is by the Higher School of Economics, the IEEE Russia Section Computer Chapter and IEEE Region 8.

The theme for HISTELCON 2021 is: "The evolution of computer architectures and system software, the influence of social aspects on the development of computers." However, this is only the main theme and papers on all other aspects of the History of Technology relevant to IEEE scope will be welcomed. The language of the conference will be English (including lectures and printed material).

Key Dates:
Abstract submission deadline: 12 June 2021
Full paper submission deadline: 3 July 2021
Paper acceptance notification: 17 July 2021
Final paper acceptance notification: 31 July 2021

Information about the submission process and portal will be forthcoming. If you have suggestions for or questions about papers, please contact Sergei Prokhorov.

Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic it is not yet certain whether the conference will operate as a Virtual On-line event or whether it will be held in the traditional manner as an On-site event in Moscow.
We Robot 2021 (Robotics Law and Policy Conference)

Coral Gables, Florida
  | 23-25 September 2021
The 10th annual robotics law and policy conference—We Robot 2021—will be held at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, USA, on 23-25 September 2021. Currently, plans are for an in-person event with a virtual option, but this may change subject to circumstances. Previously, the conference has been held at the University of Miami, University of Washington, Stanford, Yale, and the University of Ottawa.

This conference will build on a growing body of scholarship exploring how the increasing sophistication and autonomous decision-making capabilities of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, to the battlefield, disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking policy issues.

Note that although the call for papers deadline has passed, the call for posters remains open until 1 June 2021. Poster acceptances may be offered on a rolling basis (i.e. it may be beneficial to submit earlier). Here is a link to the pdf version of the We Robot 2021 – Call For Papers, Demonstrations & Posters.

The conference organizers anticipate waiving conference fees, paying reasonable round-trip coach airfare, and providing two nights hotel accommodation for one presenter per paper and for all discussants. They will waive all conference fees for all other authors and for poster presenters; they are currently exploring scholarship opportunities to help students cover the costs of attendance.

Follow the link below to visit the We Robot 2021 conference website for more information.
Announcing the 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS21): Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Hybrid Online/In-Person Event)
  | 28-31 October 2021
See announcement from earlier in this newsletter, and be sure to follow the link below and visit the ISTAS21 website for additional details about the Call for Papers, submission deadlines, speakers, registration, sponsorship/patronage opportunities, and more.

Website content will be updated regularly over the coming months.
IEEE International Humanitarian Technologies Conference (IHTC) 2021: Pre-Announcement
The IEEE International Humanitarian Technology Conference (IHTC) is a Multi-Regional Conference Series rotating between R7 (Canada), R8 (Africa, Europe and Middle East), and R9 (Latin America and Caribbean).

Established in R7 where previous editions took place in 2014 and 2017, IEEE IHTC 2021 takes place in R8 as a Virtual Conference during Quarter 4 2021, organised by Volunteers from IEEE UK and Ireland Section as well as Region 8, Region 7, Region 9 and UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter.

This inter-disciplinary conference series focuses on showcasing challenges, success stories, lessons learnt, case studies and technological innovation related to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ICT4D and the application of Humanitarian Technologies (including Disaster Relief and Disaster Recovery) and facilitating engagement stakeholders from the public, private, education and research and societal sectors around the world. We place a particular emphasis on facilitating participation by key stakeholder groups from low and lower middle-income countries as well as low resource communities.

More information on the Call for Papers and Deadlines will be available in the March newsletter.