Operationalizing SSIT’s 5 Pillars: Pillar 2: Ethics, Human Values and Technology

By on September 29th, 2017 in Ethics, Magazine Articles, President's Message

IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology volunteers are making significant progress on SSIT Pillar 2, which is dedicated to Ethics, Human Values and Technology. SSIT has a critical role to play in supporting achievement of IEEE’s tagline: Advancing Technology for Humanity. Advancing Technology for Humanity requires consideration of socio-cultural differences around the world, as well as consideration of ethical, socio-cultural, and socio-economic implications of technology adoption addressing societal challenges.

Pillar 2 is focused on professional and research ethics, ethics in the development of technologies, ethics in the context of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Technology, as well as engineering ethics education.

A recent and significant development for our society is approval by the SSIT Board of Governors that SSIT becomes actively involved in the development of ethics-based technical standards as well as ethics-based refinements to existing standards. A SSIT Standards Committee chair has been appointed and we are now looking for volunteers who both have existing standards related experience (e.g., ISO, IEEE, CEN, ETSI) as well as volunteers with an interest in the standardization process who are willing to learn through doing.

SSIT’s conference portfolio has a strong center of gravity, especially in the case of the IEEE Ethics and IEEE Norbert Weiner conferences. SSIT’s flagship event, the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (IEEE ISTAS) while reflecting the broad interest of our community always has a strong focus on ethical implications of the issues being addressed. Contributors to the Closing Plenary Panel for IEEE ISTAS 2017 (Sydney, August 10-11, 2017), “Trust and Social Implications of Technology” discussed ethical implications of technology, data, and privacy.

As is the case for each of SSIT’s 5 Pillars, SSIT can provide compelling keynote speakers and panelists at events who can share insight, expertise, and perspective. SSIT is interested in developing relationships to co-design ethics, human values, and technology related sessions and panels in thematically focused conferences organized by other societies or regions around the world.

The challenge and opportunity for SSIT is to work closely with other IEEE Societies and other relevant communities to help all key stakeholders broaden and deepen their sensitivity and awareness of ethical issues.

SSIT continues to build our bench of Distinguished Lecturers (DLs). Remember that SSIT DLs do not have to be based in the same region as the conference, panel, or meeting at which they will be invited to speak. If a speaker is traveling a long distance, please consider working with your Section to organize an “SSIT DL Roadshow,” with a number of public lectures complementing a conference keynote or panel contribution, to strengthen SSIT brand awareness.

Call for Volunteers

SSIT volunteer opportunities related to Ethics, Human Values and Technology include:

  • Join your SSIT Chapter Committee to operationalize local activity.
  • Volunteer to host SSIT Distinguished Lecturers.
  • Submit relevant articles or review submissions to T&S Magazine.
  • Submit papers or review submissions to the annual IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), SSIT’s flagship event, or to other SSIT supported conferences such as IEEE Ethics, IEEE Norbert Weiner, and IST-Africa Week. (continued on page 9)
  • Join SSIT’s Standards Committee, which has just been established.

Finally, with the discounted membership available at this time of year, there has never been a better time to encourage respected peers (including students and young professionals) to join SSIT.

Note that currently IEEE student members worldwide are offered a $4 per year rate to add SSIT to their membership.