The last few decades have seen technology emerge as the most critical factor for the advancement of humanity. However, in addition to its growing importance, technology has significant impacts in development, and on humanity as well.
Some technologies cause ecological damage leading to long-term, irreversible conditions such as climate change at the same time technology for alternate energy sources and impact mitigation fighting this battle.
Information technology impacts humanity in areas such as surveillance, loss of privacy, data loss, and cyber-crime. In many cases some communities are impacted asymmetrically by these developments. At the same time, and in some cases the same technology, facilitates communications, an informed public, health care and the opportunity for the voice of often ignored communities to be heard.
Many of these advances as well as negative impacts take place in technological domains of IEEE.
IEEE is a large, diverse technical community that takes its social and humanitarian obligations seriously. IEEE SSIT in particular, examines how technology can be used to support sustainable human development, both in day-to-day life as well as in disaster situations due to conflict, human action or inaction, and natural phenomena. SSIT brings together members—scientists, technologists and engineers, geographers and ethicists, social informatics specialists and researchers, development theorists and practitioners, and policy makers—who have varied interests, background,s and geographies, but who are all bound by a common interest in sustainable human development,
Drawing upon this diverse community of members and the broad perspectives they enable, SSIT has the goals of advising other IEEE initiatives as well as end-user communities, governments, development agencies, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations on optimizing how technology can be developed, deployed, and managed while understanding and minimizing unintended consequences, particularly to vulnerable end-user communities.
[Current working draft]