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

Dear SSIT Members,

Spring is starting to show its face here in Ontario, Canada, and I hope that changes in the seasons along with news of steady progress on the global vaccination front are lifting your spirits.

This month’s newsletter includes information about:

  • Approaching deadlines for SSIT conferences
  • Upcoming SSIT Chapter events
  • Student engagement opportunities
  • Recent website activity
  • Several 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 Submissions for each newsletter are due by the first week of the month.

SSIT Announcements
IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century: Being Human in a Global Village (Extended Submission Deadline: 31 March)
Anna University, Chennai, India
22-25 July 2021
The 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) has been extended to 31 March 2021. In-person events will take place at Anna University (Chennai, India), and opportunities for virtual participation are available.
The conference committee is pleased to announce that NR Naranaya Murthy, Infosys co-founder and long-time commentator on technology and society, will open the conference with a speech reflecting the conference theme, "Being Human in a Global Village." His interest in Norbert Wiener reflects the strong links between Wiener and the early IT industry in India.
Please follow the link below for additional information about the CFP and paper/abstract submission process.
ISTAS21: Call for Special Sessions / Workshops / Tutorials (Deadline: 5 April)
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Hybrid Online/In-Person Event)
28-31 October 2021
General information about the 2021 ISTAS conference is available in the “Conferences” section below. We wanted to highlight an important upcoming deadline: proposals for Special Sessions, Workshops, and Tutorials are due by 5 April.

See the ISTAS21 Call for Papers for additional details, and please contact Heather Love or Rozita Dara (conference co-chairs) if you have questions or would like to discuss your ideas for an ISTAS21 session ( /
Upcoming Chapter Lecturers
IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter is organizing a series of joint Chapter Meetings over the coming months. IEEE and SSIT Members as well as non-IEEE members are invited to register and participate at all events.

29 April, "The Ethics about the 'Good' Drones" (Ning Wang, University of Zurich)
Learn more about ethical considerations associated with humanitarian use of drones based on fieldwork in Nepal and Malawi.
Click here for details | Register here

Co-hosted by IEEE Pittsburgh SSIT Chapter, SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT

14 May, IEEE IHTC 2021 – Technical Briefing and Q&A Webinar
UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, UK and Ireland SIGHT, and SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT wish to invite prospective IEEE International Humanitarian Technology Conference (HTC 2021) presenters and authors to participate in a Technical Briefing Webinar.  
Click here for details | Register here

Co-hosted by UK and Ireland SIGHT and SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT

27 May,
"Automating Empathy: Social Impact, Mediated Emotion and Subjectivity"  (Prof. Andrew McStay, Bangor University, UK)
Click here for details | Register here

Co-hosted by IEEE Pittsburgh SSIT Chapter, IEEE Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Baltimore SSIT Chapter, SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT

Call for Student Volunteers: SSIT Student-Focused Webinar Planning
Submitted by Saiteja Goud Karingu

The Chapter Committee of SSIT is inviting energetic IEEE Student members to assist as outreach volunteers to identify practicing technologists and researchers to compile a program of webinars to facilitate understanding of the complex interaction between technology, science and society, its impact on individuals and society in general, professional and social responsibility in the practice of engineering, science, and technology. Follow the link below to apply.
Student Opportunity: Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Impact Challenge (Proposal Deadline: 15 April)
The Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership is partnering with The Center for Humane Technology calling on students to imagine a world built on the humane and healthy use of technology. Social media has positively impacted our world through platforms that raise and mobilize community voices, increase access to educational and employment opportunities, and build greater global connections.

For this Impact Challenge, however, we ask students to consider the shortcomings of social media and propose systemic changes that advance positive change. The purpose of systemic change is to transform systems by addressing root causes rather than just results, and can include policy recommendations, public awareness campaigns, training for technologists, school and corporate policies, or investment practices. We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Proposals are due by 15 April 2021 by 10pm, PST. Follow the link below for additional information.
SSIT Website Updates: Thank You to Contributors
Thank you to the SSIT Members and Chapters who have responded to date to the invitation to contribute content for publication on the SSIT website. We look forward to receiving regular contributions. Please send articles, event notifications and other relevant content including pictures to Miriam Cunningham, SSIT Web Committee Chair.

Articles received from SSIT Members during March include:
Hello Automated Empathy by Prof. Andrew McStay, Bangor University - Learn more about ethical issues to do with affective computing, emotional AI and emulated empathy

Excessive Internet use can have serious health effects, Experts warn by Dr. Adel Abdulla Al Refaei, Past Chair, Bahrain Section

"As It Is Africa, It Is Ok?" Ethical Considerations of Development Use of Drones for Delivery in Malawi by Ning Wang, University of Zurich - Learn more about the emergent African Drone rise and the normative role of technology in the aid sector.
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 December 2021. The issue is slated for May 2022 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

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 IST-Africa 2021 Advance Programme incorporates 30 thematically focused sessions featuring over 120 presenters from the public, private, education, research and societal organisations from 24 countries. Thematic areas addressed include: CyberSecurity; Collaborative Open Innovation and ICT-enabled Entrepreneurship; Global Development; Content Technologies; eHealth; eGovernment; Societal Implications of Technology; Next Generation Computing; eInfrastructures; ICT Supporting Power Delivery; Technology-enhanced Learning and eAgriculture and Environmental Sustainability.

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.
  • 31 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.
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 Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). 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.

Hosted by the University of Waterloo and University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), ISTAS21 runs from 28-31 October, and will take place primarily online; select in-person, live-streamed events will be held in Waterloo, COVID-19 permitting.

The ISTAS21 theme, "Technological Stewardship & Responsible Innovation," invites participation from academics and practitioners who are engaged in current debates about the status, future, and significance of technology in today’s society, and who are interested in topics related to ethics, sustainability, equity, and social values within the tech industry. The conference seeks to foster trans-disciplinary and cross-sector conversations about how technological innovation can embrace and build from principles related to “stewardship” and “responsibility,” broadly conceived.

ISTAS21 Important Dates:
  • 5 April: Special Session Proposal deadline
  • 28 April: Tutorial/Workshop Proposal deadline
  • 29 June: Paper Proposal deadline (for all full-length, short-length, and abstract-only submissions)
Be sure to visit the ISTAS21 website for additional details about the Call for Papers, submission deadlines, speakers, registration, sponsorship/patronage opportunities, and more.

IEEE International Humanitarian Technologies Conference (IHTC) 2021: Abstract Submission Deadline, 30 April
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 from 2-4 December 2021, organized by Volunteers from IEEE UK and Ireland Section ( UK and Ireland SIGHT), UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT as well as Region 8, Region 7, Region 9 and UK and Ireland SMC and Systems Council Chapters.

This interdisciplinary conference series focuses on showcasing challenges, success stories, lessons learned, 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.

Submissions are invited for Oral Presentation Only, Short Paper Presentation (early-stage results), or Full Paper Presentation (mature results) to facilitate the diversity of stakeholders who wish to contribute and have valuable experiences and perspectives to share. Submissions will be assessed for quality, relevance, and potential or actual impact. Presenters and delegates alike will enjoy the opportunity to share insights and build relationships with like-minded individuals, organizations, and stakeholder groups around the world.

Presenters can choose to submit:
  • Abstract for Oral Presentation (with no publication) or as a pre-qualification phase for Short Papers (Deadline 30 April 2021)
  • Short Papers (Deadline 30 June 2021)
  • Full Papers (Deadline 30 June 2021)
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.