November 2023

Message from the Editors
Heather Love circle image.PNG shannon Lodoen circle image.PNG

Dear SSIT Members,

Happy November! In this issue of the SSIT Newsletter, we have exciting news regarding the IEEE ISTAS 2023 Conference Proceedings (now live on IEEE Xplore!) and the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society (calls are out for new Associate Editors, Senior Editors, and Special Issue Proposals)!

In addition, read on for the latest installment in our series on the SSIT Standards Committee Working Groups, this time featuring Ben Bland discussing the P7014 Standard for Ethical Considerations in Emulated Empathy in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems; a job posting for a tenure-track position in Responsible and Sustainable Innovation; and information about publication, conference, and volunteer opportunities that should be of interest to many SSIT members. As a reminder, the SSIT Matching Funds opportunity is open until the end of December.

As always, we invite submissions of content for inclusion in future newsletters. We welcome announcements for and reports on local chapter meetings, events, or outreach activities. In addition, we would love to hear about upcoming events, webinars, and conferences relevant to SSIT members.

Please send proposed content via email to [email protected]. The deadline for inclusion in the next newsletter is 8 December 2023.

Best wishes to you all.

Heather Love (IEEE SSIT Newsletter Editor in Chief)
Shannon Lodoen (IEEE SSIT Newsletter Associate Editor)
SSIT Announcements

All SSIT members are invited to submit brief reports and updates about upcoming and completed presentations and activities you are part of that are relevant to SSIT!

IEEE ISTAS 2023: Proceedings Now Available on IEEE Xplore

We are delighted to announce that the conference proceedings for IEEE ISTAS 2023, “Technology and Analytics for Global Development” (which took place in Swansea University, Wales from 13 - 15 September 2023) are now available through IEEE Xplore!

In addition to full papers, the proceedings includes write-ups of co-located events:

Many thanks to the ISTAS 2023 conference committee, especially to Proceedings Chair, Fabio Caraffini, for your work preparing the publication.

Note that proceedings for all previous IEEE ISTAS conferences are also available on IEEE Xplore; click HERE to browse.

SSIT Standards Committee Column: Q&A with Ben Bland

This is the third installment of a new column introducing SSIT members to our Standards Committee. Previous newsletters featured Ruth Lewis (Chair, SSIT Standards Committee) and Peter Reid (Working Group Chair, P7011 Standard for the Process of Identifying and Rating the Trustworthiness of News Sources).


Ben Bland, IEEE SSIT Standards Committee Working Group Chair (P7014)

What is this standard?
The IEEE P7014 Standard for Ethical Considerations in Emulated Empathy in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.


Why is it important?
Empathic AI, also often referred to as affective computing and emotion AI, has been transitioning out of the lab and into the mainstream over the past decade. It involves computing systems that use many different modes of data, including facial images, voice audio, physiological metrics (e.g. heart rate) and text sentiment, to infer how people are feeling. It also involves the increasing prevalence of systems that appear to have their own affective (e.g. emotional) states, such as avatars that smile or frown, or text interfaces that state things like, “I am sorry I could not answer your question”.

Autonomous and intelligent systems that pertain to such emulations of empathy entail a great range of potential benefits and harms.

Potential benefits include:

  • Improved user interaction, by dynamically adjusting the system in response to the user’s current mood.
  • Healthcare systems that support physical and mental health efforts.
  • Richer, more realistic and more emotive media content and experiences.

Potential harms include:

  • Manipulation, exploitation and coercion of people by interacting with them at an emotional level.
  • Invasion of privacy by processing data such as physiological metrics, which can be highly intimate.
  • Surveillance and predictive policing of individuals and groups by estimating their moods and intentions.

Our group has attempted to draft a standard that provides any stakeholder involved with the development, deployment or decommission of empathic systems with an extensive set of steps for building autonomous systems that not only aim to mitigate potential harms, such as those listed above, but also to maximize positive outcomes for people, society and our planet.

This has not been an easy task.

From the outset, we have grappled with trying to find a balance between a standard that is so strict or specific that it is potentially infeasible, or becomes irrelevant with the evolving technology, versus one that is so soft or open to interpretation that it bears no teeth.

The new IEEE P7000 series is engaged in helping to pioneer ethical standards in the poorly charted space of AI. Complex, emerging systems, such as AI, present equally complex, emerging challenges for humanity; we don't yet know how the world will take to development, application, and enforcement of recommended ethical practices

Empathy is at the heart of what it is to be human. Now we are teaching it to our machines. It is time for all of us to think about what this could mean, and what we should do about it.

What is a real-world example/case study of how this might help?
You’re driving on the highway, relaxed listening to the radio, when an old memory pops into your head. A memory you would rather not have. It evokes an old sense of regret mixed with anger. You frown. Your heart rate increases. Your breath quickens. Then the radio switches off and a robotic voice fills the cabin.

“I sense that you are feeling stressed. Reducing speed and engaging auto-pilot in three seconds.”

“No!” You yell. “Cancel that! Let me drive. I’m fine!”

From the passenger seat, your partner says, “Hey, calm down!”

Now you actually are stressed, and more than a little angry.

This is a hypothetical case of the kind of user interaction that is currently being tested by technology companies as they attempt to upgrade AI with what could soon become its killer feature – empathy. The potential consequences of training autonomous systems to sense and simulate human emotions and mental states run from the trivial to the catastrophic. This is why we have been developing a standard for the ethics and responsible use of empathic AI.

What stage is it at?
The IEEE P7014 Standard for Ethical Considerations in Emulated Empathy in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems finally reached the ballot stage in October 2023, after over four years of debate and drafting by our working group. Now, we urge you, the Newsletter readership, to consider this potential milestone in our socio-technological history and get involved in adopting and raising awareness about the new standard.

What is the current geographical or disciplinary spread of your working members?
Since the outset, we have had the fortune of a decent spread of membership, but we would have liked more. Most are from academia, industry or governance, with a relatively even balance across those sectors. Most are from North America and Europe, with only a handful from South America, Africa and eastern countries. This has always been an issue for us, and we have yet to discover a method of maintaining inclusivity across disparate time zones and geographies that works well.


What type of people might be interested or well suited for this standards group?
While the subject matter – and our membership – is typically addressed by those with expertise in AI, software engineering, psychology, sociology, and policy, the impact of empathic AI is universal, and of interest to anyone. Thus, we have always sought input from people of diverse backgrounds and varied levels of expertise.

What triggered your own interest in this area?
While I have worked with innovative digital technologies through my whole career so far, I spent five years at a startup in Belfast, trying to build a groundbreaking empathic AI system to measure human emotions and cognitive states from the fusion of a wide range of data modes (e.g. body, face, voice, etc.) in order to make human-computer interaction more natural and effective. The ethical challenges around the technology we were building were profound and fascinating, and I jumped at the chance to help get a standard off the ground, even though the sector had not yet, and still has not, matured.

Call to action
IEEE P7014 is in the final stages of refinement before publication so it’s time to shout about it. We invite you to help the standard on its way into the hands of technologists, policy makers, and other stakeholders, including the general public, and provide feedback so that we can improve it in future versions. We hope that the standard will be available for free via the IEEE GET Program, to increase its accessibility.

Concordia Hiring Tenure Track Professor in Responsible and Sustainable Innovation

Submitted by Ketra Schmitt

The Centre for Engineering in Society (CES) at Concordia University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the broad areas of Technology, Sustainable Innovation, and Society as they relate to engineering. The application deadline is 15 January 2024.

For full details, please see the job posting on Concordia’s website.

Reminder: SSIT’s Matching Funds Opportunity Runs Through 31 December!

Thanks to a generous offer from an anonymous donor, all donations made to SSIT through the IEEE Foundation between now and 31 December 2023, will be matched, up to a total of US$5000. Donate now to double your impact!

SSIT brings together interdisciplinary communities to support and inform our understanding of:

  • Sustainable Development & Humanitarian Technology
  • Ethics and Human Values
  • Technology Access
  • Societal Impact of Technological Innovation
  • Protecting the Planet
  • Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

We work within the technology community, but draw our ideas from practitioners, researchers, inventors, policy makers, professionals and students across many fields. We also influence the direction of technology adoption and development, from awareness and concepts, to standards and professional practice.

These programs are making a difference! Funds will be invested in further strengthening and expanding:

  • Standards development related to social impacts of AI, ethical design, human-robot interaction, and more
  • International Chapter, Young Professional and Student Activities
  • Conference and Distinguished Lecturer Programs addressing society’s most pressing issues
  • related to technology
  • Online Publishing and Education Programs

Ways to Contribute
Donate to SSIT online at
You can make a gift to SSIT in honor or memory of someone who has touched your life

Note that donations to SSIT are managed by the IEEE Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IEEE. IEEE and the IEEE Foundation are U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. For more information contact: [email protected] or +1 732 465 5871.

IEEE Technology & Society Magazine (TSM)

Information About the Journal
IEEE TSM is SSIT’s award-winning flagship publication. It features peer-reviewed and general interest articles that explore and analyze the profound impacts of technology on our world.

Find out more about the publication’s scope, topics, and article submission guidelines here, and visit the IEEE TSM section of the SSIT website to read about current and past issues.

IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society (TTS)

SSIT NL July 2023 Transactions-June-2023-Coverimage.jpeg

Call for Associate Editors and Senior Editors
The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society leadership is recruiting up to 30 Associate Editors and 7 Senior Editors as a complement to the current Editorial Board. This is the first open call for recruitment of suitable candidates from academia, industry, government, and the third sector.

For full details on the postings, please click here. Applications can be submitted to [email protected].

Call for Special Issue Proposals
The Co-Editors-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society (IEEE TTS or Transactions) are calling for special issue proposals from interested members of the international community: informed academics, practitioners, government representatives, and third sector advocates and volunteers, inclusive of independent researchers. This call pertains to special issues that will be scheduled for publication in 2025-26.

  • The special issue proposals should be in line with IEEE TTS’ fields of interest and address an interdisciplinary space or theme with researchers who have strengths in two or more fields, and, more broadly, in technology and society.
  • The special issues must address contemporary, real-world challenges of significance to individuals, communities, organizations, industries, and or society more broadly. The challenges or special issue themes proposed should transcend borders and demonstrate complexity, while relying on multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary approaches.
  • The focus of topics identified in the special issue proposals should deal with the prominent areas of consideration relevant to the identified special issue theme, and the call should be layered allowing for theoretical and methodological contributions, and diverse empirical analysis that is qualitative, quantitative, or experimental, with clearly identifiable objectives.

Please click here to view the full details and requirements, as published in IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society.

Information About the Journal
The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society publishes four issues each year (March, June, September, and December); 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.

For expressions of interest to serve on the editorial board as an ongoing reviewer or associate editor, or for other inquiries please email the founding editor-in-chief at [email protected].

Special Issue CFP: “Indigenous Knowledge and Information Technology for Sustainable Development”

This CFP is for a Special Issue that will be developed in affiliation with the IEEE ISTAS 2023 Conference.

Guest Editors:

  • Ransom Bawack, Audencia Business School, France
  • Sian Roderick, School of Management, Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • Abdalla Badhrus, Muslim Education and Welfare Association (MEWA), Kenya
  • Denis Dennehy, Swansea University, Wales
  • Jacqueline Corbett, Faculty of Business Administration, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada

This Special Issue of the journal Information Technology for Development aims to stimulate rigorous scientific research on the role of indigenous knowledge in IT for sustainable development. Heading into the critical second half of the SDG 2030 agenda, this Special Issue focuses on how to leverage and integrate indigenous knowledge to increase the contribution of IT solutions to the achievement of the SDGs. It aspires to demonstrate how strengthening the involvement of indigenous peoples, local communities, and their knowledge can influence the impacts of IT-based development strategies that meet the needs of poor and marginalized communities. Thus, we welcome papers that reveal the positive and/or negative aspects of associating indigenous knowledge and IT for sustainable development.

This Special Issue welcomes papers from all disciplines and encourages multidisciplinary that apply quantitative, qualitative, design science or mixed-methods research approaches.

Important Dates:

  • Deadline for submission: 15 January 2024
  • Notification of initial acceptance: 31 March 2024
  • Deadline for revised papers: 30 June 2024
  • Notification of final acceptance: 30 September 2024
  • Tentative publication date: December 2024

See the full Special Issue CFP for details regarding context, aims, and scope; topics of interest; and submission guidelines.

Evolution: IEEE Life Members Conference
14-16 April 2024
Hyatt Regency, Austin, TX

We are excited to announce the inaugural Life Members Conference, designed to strengthen the engagement of IEEE's 38,000 Life Members in shaping our collective future. Life Members represent all disciplines across the IEEE's fields of interest. We are also dedicated to giving back and sharing our expertise with the next generation.

The conference has three tracks:

1. Emerging Technologies – that impact seniors
  • Technologies of the Future and the Next Chapter
  • Aging Society and Technology Progress
  • Renewable Energy and Sustainability
2. Applications – technologies used by aging populations
  • Financial and Investment Strategies
  • Smart Systems, Infrastructure, Equipment and Living
3. Contributions – members sharing resources with future leaders
  • Mentors and Influencers in the Modern Society
  • Professional Development, Sharing and STEM Education

Our growing list of speakers include Rodney Brooks (iRobot), John McDonald (GE), Whurley (Strangeworks), Manuela Veloso (JP Morgan), Bernie Sander (AMD), Julie Shah (MIT) (and more!). Speaker commitments are ongoing and over the summer and fall, we’ll have a large list of exciting and engaging speakers, keynotes and topics to share.

Join other Life Members, Senior Members, influencers, innovators, technical professionals, and members of the STEM community in Austin for this inaugural event. Registration will be limited, so be sure to secure your spot early. Stay tuned for further details about the conference and our social media channels.
IST-Africa 2024 Call for Papers: Deadline 30 November
May 2024
Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa 2024 (May) is the nineteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Policy, Research and Innovation Conferences. IST-Africa 2024 is technical co-sponsored by IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT).

The IST-Africa Conference Series provides a world-class strategic platform rotating around Africa to strengthen technology-enabled Innovation, Science and Technology and Entrepreneurship related policy dialogues within Africa and between Africa, Europe and the rest of the world, Global Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building. It also provides an opportunity to identify potential partners for future research cooperation under Horizon Europe and other international funding programs. IST-Africa is a unique community that brings together cross-disciplinary stakeholders from public, private, education and research, societal, funding and international donor sectors with end user communities focused on ICT and STI Research and Innovation and Technology-enabled Entrepreneurship.

The IST-Africa 2024 Call for Papers invites full papers (4000 - 5000 words in length) using the paper guidelines and IST-Africa template for blind peer review by 30 November.

Key information for authors:
Additional guidelines:
Thematic areas addressing achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include:
  • Technology-enabled Healthcare (mHealth /eHealth)
  • Technology-enhanced Learning and eSkills
  • Technology-enabled Agriculture (mAgriculture /eAgriculture) & Environmental Sustainability
  • Energy - ICT for Power Delivery, Micro-grids
  • eInfrastructures and NRENs (National Research and Education Networks)
  • Next Generation Computing: Big Data, Cloud Computing, Future Internet, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT)
  • eGovernment and Public Service Delivery
  • Content Technologies: Languages; Digital Preservation
  • Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust
  • Collaborative Open Innovation and Technology-enabled Entrepreneurship (including Social Entrepreneurship)
  • Global Development (including ICT4D)
  • Societal and Ethical Implications of Technology
Full papers must present analysis of policy, initial or final research results or a case study. It is important to highlight actual or expected impact as well as the level of innovation. General project descriptions or descriptions of proposed research will not be reviewed.

It is necessary for the paper submitted to include a unique element that has not previously been published and any previous published materials to be clearly referenced (including material previously published by the authors).

Each presenter can present ONE paper in the Programme. It is necessary for papers to be presented by an author / co-author and answer questions based on the presentation during the event to ensure inclusion in the Proceedings.

Please only submit papers for review where there are authors/co-authors who will complete registration. Please do not submit multiple papers for which there is only one author who can register. Please note only full papers are assigned for review.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

IST-Africa 2023 Proceedings
The IST-Africa 2023 Proceedings and previous proceedings can be accessed on an Open Access basis via

IST-Africa Community Members can access and download individual papers of interest for personal use on an open access basis via the IST-Africa Open Access Repository.

If a colleague is not already a member of the IST-Africa community, they can register at no charge via

Ongoing Calls
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 2025 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), and as a virtual event hosted from Chennai, India (2021), with satellite activities in India 2014, 2016, 2018.

Expressions of interest are welcome for 2025.

If you are interested in hosting one of these events, please contact SSIT Conferences Chair, Jay Pearlman at [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
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 can be found at

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 Bob Dent ([email protected]). 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.
{{my.Comm Preferences:default=edit me}}