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

Dear SSIT Members,

With apologies for the unexpected hiatus in distribution, I am pleased to present this special “double-issue” of the SSIT newsletter, which covers submissions from both April and May 2021.

This month’s newsletter includes information about:

  • Opportunities to serve on the Board of Governors and to organize future conferences;
  • 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 Heather.Love@uwaterloo.ca. Submissions for each newsletter are due by the first week of the month.

SSIT Announcements
Call for SSIT Board of Governors Candidates
SSIT is seeking candidates for President-Elect (2022) and three Board of Governors Members-at-Large (2022-2024). All positions are voting members of the SSIT BoG.
President Elect
2022 President Elect is a five-year commitment:
  • One year as President-Elect (2022)
  • Two years as President (2023-2024)
  • Two years as Past President (2025-2026)

The President-Elect should expect to spend two to four days per month on SSIT-related activities. As the Society President this time will increase to four to eight days per month. The President leads the monthly BoG conference calls. Additionally, the President attends three two-day Technical Activities Board (TAB) meetings per year, usually held in February, June and November. Travel expenses associated with attendance at the TAB meetings are provided by SSIT.

The deadline for nomination for President Elect is 30 September 2021.

Board of Governors Members at Large (MaL)
BoG  MaL candidates make a three-year commitment. MaLs are expected to attend the monthly SSIT one-hour conference calls. Each MaL is also expected to be involved in aspects of the affairs of the Society. At the present time, travel expenses for MaLs are not reimbursed by the SSIT. MaLs may serve two consecutive terms.

The deadline for nomination for Board of Governors Member at Large is 30 June 2021.

All candidates should submit a nomination specifying the position they are interested in running for. Additionally, the candidate should include any information relevant to their possible contributions to the Society. The information can include previous experience with respect to conferences, publications, finances, chapters, standards, education, governance, and any relevant experience of use to SSIT.

For more information: Potential candidates for either position are welcome to contact the SSIT Nominations Committee Chair Bob Dent.
IEEE ISTAS21: VIRTUAL Event; Paper Proposals Due June 29
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Virtual Event)
28-31 October 2021
We hope that all SSIT members will consider attending and/or presenting at IEEE ISTAS21: Technological Stewardship & Responsible Innovation, which will now run as a fully virtual event.

The paper proposal deadline is 29 June, and several formats for submissions are available. Details are available on the ISTAS21 CFP page of the conference website.

The IEEE ETHICS-2021 conference, focused on the theme “ Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility” will run as a track within ISTAS21. Visit the ETHICS-2021 CFP webpage for complete details.

Please contact Heather Love or Rozita Dara (ISTAS21 Conference Co-chairs) if you have additional questions or would like to discuss your ideas for submission.
IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW): Virtual Event
Anna University, Chennai, India
22-25 July 2021
The third installment of SSIT’s conference series on the legacy of cybernetician “Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century” ( 21CW2020) will now be run as a fully virtual event.

Registration is now open, and we hope that all SSIT members will consider attending the conference and promoting it within your own professional networks.

Visit the 21CW website for more information about:

The complete conference program will be available in the coming weeks.

Upcoming Chapter Lectures
IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter has organized a series of joint Chapter Meetings that have run throughout April and May 2021. IEEE and SSIT Members, as well as non-IEEE Members, are invited to register and participate in the upcoming events:

23 May, 9:30am (EDT), 7pm (Indian Standard Time), 14:30 - 15:30 (UTC+1) - Click here to convert to your local time.
Prof Paul Cunningham and Miriam Cunningham (IST-Africa Institute, Ireland) will be presenting " Co-Designing Ethical Interventions in Resource Constrained Environments." This lecture focuses on social implications and ethical issues to be considered when co-designing and implementing interventions in resource constrained environments.

Co-hosted by IEEE Madras Section SSIT Chapter, IEEE Bangladesh SSIT Chapter, IEEE Kerala SSIT Chapter and SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT.
Click here for more details. Register Here.

25 May, 12 noon (EDT), 5pm (UTC+1) - Click here to convert to your local time
John Torous, MD MBI is (Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, US) will present " Apps for Mental Health: New Research and Marketplace Trends." This lecture will describe the evolving field of smartphone digital phenotyping, the potential for real time data capture via smartphones, methods to analyze apps for mental health, and practical clinical applications of these tools.

Organized by IEEE Philadelphia SSIT Chapter and co-hosted by IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter, and SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT.
Click here for more details. Register Here.

27 May, 1pm (EDT), 18:00 - 19:00 (UTC+1) - Click here to convert to your local time.
Prof. Andrew McStay (Bangor University, UK) will be presenting " Automating Empathy: Social Impact, Mediated Emotion and Subjectivity." This lecture shares thoughts and ethical insights about the social trajectory of technologies that track and interact with human emotion and affective states.

Co-hosted by IEEE Pittsburgh SSIT Chapter, IEEE Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Baltimore SSIT Chapter, SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT, Vancouver Section Joint Chapter.
Click here for more details. Register Here.
Call for Volunteers: Student Activities Committee
Submitted by Saiteja Goud Karingu
IEEE SSIT is actively supporting Student Activities through a number of new initiatives currently under development to support SSIT Student Members and SSIT Student Chapters. In this context, the Student Activities Committee (SAC) has been formed as a sub-committee under the IEEE SSIT Chapters Committee. This sub-committee oversees, supports and coordinates IEEE SSIT’s Student Chapters globally along with promoting membership activities that are specifically focused on addressing the needs of IEEE SSIT students globally.

Learn more about the SSIT SAC here.

The Student Activities Committee has a number of vacancies. We are seeking proactive members to serve on the committee. Please see the complete structure of the committee, open roles and responsibilities here.

For expressions of interest to serve on the committee, or for other inquiries please email the SAC Chair, Saiteja Goud K.
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.
Call for Nominations: IEEE SSIT Awards
IEEE SSIT has three major awards, all of which are open for nomination 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 at https://technologyandsociety.org/member-resources/awards-programs/barus-award-recipients/.

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 at

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 at

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.

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 Katina Michael.

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.
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.
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 (Virtual 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 as a virtual event.

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.

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

Submission Deadlines: 31 May/30 June

Virtual Event | 2-4 December 2021

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 31 May 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)
IEEE ISTAS is the annual flagship event of the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). It is organized each year by SSIT in cooperation with SSIT Chapters and IEEE Sections. IEEE ISTAS brings together a broad range of disciplines (e.g., natural and social sciences, policy, ethics and education) to share research and experiences about the implications of technology adoption, adaptation and evolution.

SSIT is looking toward future ISTAS two to four years from now to allow planning and continuity between annual events. We are issuing a call for proposals for volunteers as organizers of ISTAS in 2023, 2024, and beyond.

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, please contact SSIT Conferences Chair, Jay Pearlman to request SSIT’s Call for Proposals Guide, which provides:
  • Guidance for conference organization and operations
  • An overview of expectations for proposal content
  • Background on ISTAS conference (including a list of recent events)
  • A proposal template