SSIT Newsletter

The Society on Social Implications of Technology publishes a monthly newsletter.

The SSIT newsletter hits member inboxes on the 15th of each month.

Please contact the SSIT Newsletter Editor, Heather Love (Heather.Love@uwaterloo.ca) if you have a news item, SSIT-related update, volunteer opportunity, Call for Papers, award notice, or “Feature Article” idea for a future issue.

Submissions are due by the 1st of the month.

From our most recent issue:

SSIT Membership Drive Now Underway

Submitted by Anasuya Devi, SSIT Membership Chair

Warm greetings to IEEE SSIT’s current and future members! Our 2019-2020 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.

Join SSIT!

We are in a new golden age of artificial intelligence research which is driven by a fundamentally different conceptual approach. It’s powered by big data, new storage and processing capacities, and pattern-discrimination systems that learn from those data, constructing rules for their behaviour as they go. This is not just in the lab. These machine learning systems are implemented by all the big tech companies in everything from ad auctions to photo-tagging, and they are supplementing or replacing human decision making in a host of more mundane, but possibly more consequential, areas like loans, bail, policing, and hiring. And we have already seen plenty of dangerous failures: computer vision systems that do not recognize dark-skinned faces; risk assessment tools that systematically rate people of colour who have records of arrest as riskier than white people with similar backgrounds; hiring algorithms that learn to reject women.

These issues force a fundamental reconsideration of core democratic values—not just in what decisions are made, but how they are reached, and with what sort of accountability. At SSIT, we consider the impacts of these technologies on society, and we work to recognize, mitigate, and eliminate the errors and biases that creep into the technology humans create. We contribute to the IEEE’s core mission by championing ethical and humanitarian approaches to technological development in the world today.

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.

We hope that you will continue working with us to achieve the objectives at the heart of our five central “Pillars” of focus:

Click on links to access current and past issues of the SSIT Newsletter:

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

The email version of the SSIT Newsletter is a member benefit of SSIT. To receive the email version of the newsletter, join SSIT.