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

Dear SSIT Members,

I hope that our September/October Newsletter finds you well, and that you will take advantage over the coming weeks of the many opportunities to engage with SSIT programming (both upcoming and recently completed) that are detailed below. Of particular note:

  • On the CONFERENCES front:
    • GHTC is happening THIS WEEK
    • ISTAS21 is happening THIS MONTH
    • New 21CW video recordings (from July 2021) are available on
  • On the ACTIVITIES front:
    • The 2021-2022 SSIT MEMBERSHIP DRIVE is underway
    • A SYMPOSIUM on “Digital Inclusion” is taking place on 22 October
    • SSIT has contributed panels on themes related to the social implications of technology at several conferences whose themes overlap with SSIT topics of interest.

Read on to find out more.

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 [email protected]. Submissions for each newsletter are due by the first week of the month.

-Heather Love

SSIT Announcements
IEEE GHTC 2021: Happening Now!
IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) 2021 is an annual flagship international conference sharing practical technology-enabled solutions supporting achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by addressing the needs of underserved communities in resource constrained environments around the world. IEEE GHTC 2021 takes place as a virtual conference from 19 - 23 October.

The program incorporates a scientific program (incorporating sessions related to Healthcare, Disaster Mitigation, Energy, Education, Agriculture, Communications, Water & Sanitation), workshops and plenary sessions. Click here to access the program.

IEEE GHTC 2021 is Sponsored by IEEE Region 6, IEEE Seattle Section and IEEE SSIT, with Technical Co-Sponsorship by IEEE-USA, IEEE PELS, and (expected) IEEE CTS, IEEE EMBS, IEEE MTT, IEEE PES, and IEEE Smart Village Initiative.
IEEE ISTAS21: Register by 24 October 2021! Full Program Available! Workshop on “AI 4 Equity” FREE to ISTAS21 Attendees!
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Virtual Event) | 28-31 October 2021
ISTAS21 is just around the corner, and we look forward to welcoming SSIT members to this four-day virtual event hosted by the University of Waterloo and University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada).

The full Conference Program is now available, and includes a range of speakers and sessions that will address this year’s theme—Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation—from a variety of angles. In addition to SIX keynotes, the program features TWENTY-ONE special sessions, TWENTY-THREE paper sessions, and several sessions oriented towards students and young professionals.
Registration is open until 24 October 2021, and fee waivers are available for student participants. For full details, visit the conference Registration Page.

We are excited to confirm that ISTAS21 attendees will have access to the Second International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Equity (AI4Eq), which is focused this year on the theme “Against Modern Indentured Servitude.” Organized by Jeremy Pitt (Imperial College London), the workshop features distinguished speakers Josiah Ober (Stanford University) and Katina Michael (Arizona State University). The workshop is divided into four panel sessions, which will run on the ISTAS21 platform on Wednesday, 27 October 2021 (the day before the official ISTAS21 conference begins).

Many thanks to the Partner Organizations, Patrons, and Technical Co-Sponsors who have made ISTAS21 possible. We look forward to seeing you at the conference in a few weeks!

Please contact Heather Love or Rozita Dara (ISTAS21 Conference Co-chairs) at [email protected] if you have additional questions.
2021-2022 SSIT Membership Drive Underway
Submitted by Anasuya Devi, SSIT Membership Chair

Warm greetings to IEEE SSIT’s current and future members! Our 2021-2022 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.

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.

To find out more about SSIT and membership benefits, watch the “Introducing IEEE SSIT” video!
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.
Report: IEEE SSIT and IEEE Smart Village Supported Panel Discussion
Submitted by Luis Kun, SSIT Distinguished Lectures Committee Chair

On 2 October 2021, IEEE SSIT and IEEE Smart Village held a Panel Discussion on the "Impact of Technology on Society & Individuals" at the 9th IEEE Region 10 Humanitarian Technology Conference (R10 HTC 2021) organized by the IEEE Bangalore Section. The session took place between 9:00 and 11:00 EDT via Webex, and there were 130 individuals connected.

Kalyan Sen and Luis Kun represented SSIT, Robin Podmore represented the IEEE Smart Village, and Kalyan Sen graciously served as moderator. The theme of Kun’s presentation was “Healthcare and the Social Implications of Global Digital Exclusion.” Find below a partial view of the attendees.
Report: IEEE SSIT Panels on (Dis)Empowerment and Autonomous/Intelligent Systems at the Society for the Social Study of Science (4S) Conference
Submitted by Greg Adamson, SSIT Technical Activities Chair

SSIT Technical Activities, along with IEEE Standards Association committee on the Concentration of Power (part of the Ethically Aligned Design industry connection), organised a two-panel series at 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) on Disempowerment and Empowerment with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. The 90-minute sessions took place on Thursday, 7 October 2021 and involved seven speakers (details below) and two SSIT respondents (Greg Adamson and Heather Love). 4S is the leading humanities forum for studies of technology, with 3,000 presenters this year.

One of our speakers, Lyantoniette Chua from the Philippines, presented on power, Facebook, and journalistic freedom, focussing on the work of Maria Ressa. Less than 24 hours later Maria Ressa won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

The speakers and talks that were part of the session are:

Session 1:
  • Ben Gansky, Arizona State University: 'Absolute, Measured, Stable' -- and Secret: How Civic Tech Startup Replica Imagines Urban Data
  • Lyantoniette Chua, IEEE Global AIS Ethics Initiative, MD4SG, University of the Philippines: A matter of life and death: Social Media, Regimes, and the Global South | The Philippines – a case in point
  • Xenia Anaid Rueda, UNAM; Juan Carlos García Cruz, Cátedras CONACYT/ UAM Xochimilco: From Communication of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to Social Appropriation of Science, Technology and Innovation (SASTI) to Intercultural Contexts
  • Janne Olin, Aalto University: Imaginaries Of Transport Automation In Finnish Transport Governance
Session 2
  • Lee Gensler, CUNY Graduate Center: Algorithmic Content Moderation and the Conspiratorial Common Sense of Facebook Groups
  • Andreas Deppeler, Devesh Narayanan, Centre on AI Technology for Humankind, National University of Singapore: A New Power-Triangle Within the Organization: Structural Power Differentials Between Workers, Managers, and AI Systems
  • Natalie Florence Severy, Arizona State University: Extending Power Asymmetries with Persona Constructs: critiquing strategies of humanitarian design

Announcement: Norbert Wiener Conference Session Recordings Available on
Shared by TV Gopal, Conference Chair for IEEE 3rd Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW)

The 21CW Conference Committee is pleased to share the good news that the following recordings of sessions and talks from the 21CW conference, which took place as a virtual event this past July 2021 on the theme “Being Human in a Global Village,” are now hosted on
We warmly invite all SSIT Newsletter readers to view the recordings.
Call for New Content: SSIT Website and Channel
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.

SSIT Chapters, Distinguished Lecturers and SSIT supported Events are invited to provide Miriam Cunningham with recordings of Guest Lectures and other relevant content linked with SSIT’s Technical areas and field of interest for publication in the SSIT Society Channel on Please send a link by email to download the .mp4 file, include SSIT branding in the recording, and ensure that you have written permission from the speaker to publish it.
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

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.
Open-Access Book Available: Perspectives on Digital Humanism
Submitted by Edward A. Lee
A new open access book, Perspectives on Digital Humanism, is available online and will soon be available in print.
Digital Humanism has evolved from an unease about the consequences of a digitized world for human beings into an internationally connected community that aims at developing concepts to provide a positive and constructive response. Following up on several successful workshops and a lecture series that bring together authorities of the various disciplines, this book is the latest contribution to the ongoing international discussions and developments. It comprises a collection of 46 articles from experts with different disciplinary and institutional backgrounds who provide their view on the interplay of human and machine.

Virtual Event
  | 19-23 October 2021
IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (IEEE GHTC 2021) is an annual flagship international conference sharing practical technology-enabled solutions supporting achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by addressing the needs of underserved communities in resource constrained environments around the world. The 11th GHTC will take place as a virtual event from 19 - 23 October.

Thematic areas include:
  • Affordable & Clean Energy (SDG7)
  • Agriculture & Food Security (SDG2)
  • Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG6)
  • Connectivity & Communication in Support of Development
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8)
  • Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery: Disaster Planning and Preparedness
  • Good Health and Well Being (SDG3)
  • Quality Education (SDG4)
  • Other Related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDGs 9, 11, 12, 14).
  • Technology Impacts on Societal Evolution

IEEE GHTC 2021 is Sponsored by IEEE Region 6, IEEE Seattle Section and IEEE SSIT, with Technical Co-Sponsorship by IEEE-USA, IEEE PELS, and (expected) IEEE CTS, IEEE EMBS, IEEE MTT, IEEE PES, and IEEE Smart Village Initiative.

Join The Decade of Digital Inclusion

Virtual Symposium
   | 22 October 2021
The Marconi Society, a nonprofit chaired by Vint Cerf and dedicated to bridging the digital divide, is hosting an exciting event called The Decade of Digital Inclusion and registration is now open. This event series will convene some of the world’s most creative and innovative minds in technology, policy, and digital inclusion to focus on how we bring the rest of the planet online.

The Decade of Digital Inclusion is a series of virtual pre- and post-Symposium sessions that will be offered from September through November, with a virtual Symposium on 22 October 2021. The event celebrates the newest Marconi Fellow, Eric E. Sumner Award recipient and Dean of Princeton’s School of Engineering, Andrea Goldsmith.

A few sessions of particular interest, in addition to Andrea’s keynote on the Future the Future That Our Connected World Will Create include:

Inclusive Connectivity: Opportunities and Imperatives
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the Telecommunications Bureau of the ITU, will speak on the future of the digital landscape and what needs to happen at the intersection of technology, policy, regulation, and advocacy to ensure inclusive connectivity.

Giving All Americans a Fair Shot at Access
Acting FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, will speak about the opportunities and challenges of ensuring that all Americans are connected to high speed Internet access so that they can enjoy the opportunities they deserve.

6G Summit on Connecting the Unconnected
Hosted by KAUST’s Mohamed-Slim Alouini, technologists including Ana García Armada, Vint Cerf, Ida Jallow, Tawfik Jelassi, Milo Medin, Anton Monk and more discuss the promise and challenges of 6G for democratizing connectivity.

Building Inclusion into Digital Tech R&D
IEEE Board Member Dalma Novak hosts Lynford Goddard, Sanmi Koyejo and Muriel Médard in a discussion of how we bring the lived experiences of the next billion into the building and design of tomorrow’s technology.

Information and Communications Technology: Key Challenges for the Next Decade
Vint Cerf and Ana García Armada will lead a panel of experts across ICT disciplines, including Elza Erkip, Joe Kakande, Margaret Martonosi and others and then host an open plenary session to identify the critical issues which, if solved, would help create exponential improvements in our ability to connect everyone in the world to the Internet.

Building Effective and Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence
As artificial intelligence hits the news with increasing frequency, Mark Gorenberg from Zetta Ventures will lead a panel of experts discussing social media, disinformation and the ethics of AI.

Student tickets are US$25 and general admission tickets are US$49 for the entire conference series. Register today to join us virtually and please share this with your networks.

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.

The IEEE ETHICS-2021 Conference, on the theme "Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility," will be hosted as a track within ISTAS21.

The full Conference Program is available online, and Registration is open until 24 October 2021. Fee waivers are available for students who wish to attend.

We hope to see all SSIT members at ISTAS21!
IEEE International Humanitarian Technologies Conference (IHTC) 2021: Secondary Call for Papers (30 September)

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.

Registration for IHTC 2021 will open at the end of October. 
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 ( [email protected]) 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
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