President’s Message – Operationalizing SSIT’s 5 Pillars

By on June 12th, 2018 in Magazine Articles, President's Message, Societal Impact

Pillar 4: Societal Impact of Technology

This month I will briefly discuss SSIT Pillar 4, which is dedicated to Societal Impact of Technology. Pillar 4 focuses on highlighting and supporting the development of technologies that incorporate the principles of safety, security, and privacy by design.

This is an ambitious objective which requires consideration of both major themes as well as a number of major technological areas. Major themes include privacy, security, safety, ethical, legal, and political implications of current and emerging technologies and applying lessons learned from the past based on the often unintended and unanticipated implications of technological innovation and adoption.

Major technological areas that the SSIT community must address include:

■ Data-driven technologies (e.g., big data analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), personalization, social networks);

■ Cloud-based technologies (e.g., cloud-based computing, cloudbased transactions);

■ Smart and autonomous systems (e.g., smart homes and devices, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, surgical and medical robots, non-human intelligence);

■ Human-centered technologies (e.g., HCI, ergonomics);

■ Human enhancing technologies (e.g., augmented and virtual reality, genetics and neurology, cyberphysical systems).

It is clear that addressing this breadth and depth of technological complexity requires a humanvalues-based impact assessment. This can only be achieved through cross-disciplinary and interdisci – plinary collaboration between engineers, technologists and scientists, medical practitioners and legal scholars, philosophers and ethicists. In the light of this requirement, Pillar 4 will prioritize multi-stakeholder collaboration across IEEE societies, as well as engagement with non-IEEE stakeholders across the public, private, education and research, and societal sectors. This is essential to develop ethical based technological, standards, and policy-related approaches to mitigate and ameliorate some of the identified safety, security, and privacy issues identified.

We hope you will be encouraged to prepare paper, panel and workshop submissions to the Call for Papers for IEEE ISTAS 2018 (Washington, DC, November 13–14), which will be addressing many of these issues.

Call for Volunteers

I invite you to help SSIT continue to make a difference in an arena of enormous complexity. Other volunteer opportunities include:

■ Serving your local community through an existing or new SSIT Chapter.

■ Contributing to the work of SSIT’s committees (including our Standards committee).

■ Volunteering to host SSIT Distinguished Lecturers.

■ Submitting articles or review submissions to IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.

■ Reviewing submissions to IEEE ISTAS, Norbert Weiner, IEEE Ethics, IST-Africa Week, and other SSIT supported conferences.

■ Supporting activities of the IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT in IST-Africa Partner Countries.

■ Representing SSIT on IEEE committees (TAB, BoD, Standards, Future Directions Initiative).

■ Serving on the SSIT Board of Governors.

If any of these opportunities are of potential interest or if you would like to recommend someone, please contact me (Subject: Volunteer for IEEE SSIT – ) and I will direct you to the responsible team. If you have not received a response to a previous offer to volunteer, please accept my sincere apologies and contact me again so I can assist you.

Call for Donations, Gifts, and Bequests

SSIT’s 2018 fundraising campaign is focused on securing the level of resources required to scale activities over the coming years. Funds will be invested in further strengthening and expanding volunteer activities. Options to financially support SSIT
volunteer activities include:

■ Donate to SSIT online
■ Mail a check payable to the “IEEE Foundation – SSIT Fund” to: IEEE Foundation, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A.
■ Ask your employer to match your personal donation.
■ Donate in honor or memory of someone who has touched your life or others.
■ Direct a gift to the “IEEE Foundation – SSIT Fund” from your donor advised fund, foundation or family office.
■ Providing a legacy Remember SSIT in your will.

Author Information
Paul M. Cunningham, 2017–2018 IEEE-SSIT President, is President and CEO, IIMC (Ireland); Director, ISTAfrica Institute (; Adjunct/Visiting Professor, International University of Management (Namibia); and Visiting Senior Fellow, Wrexham Glyndwr University (Wales). He is 2018 Chair, IEEE Humanitarian
Activities Committee and serves on the IEEE Global Public Policy Committee. Email: