Society on Social Implications of Technology Chapter

Welcome to the Northern Virginia/Washington/Baltimore Chapter of the IEEE Society on Social Implications on Technology (SSIT).  SSIT is concerned with how technology impacts the world, and with how the application of technology can improve the world.

We are excited to announce our March and April 2019 Chapter meetings.

March 2019 Chapter Meeting:

Topic: Neuroweapons: The Real and Present Threat of New Neuroactive Drugs, Bugs, Toxins and Devices

When: Thursday 7 March 2019 06:30 PM

Where: Dolley Madison Library, Meeting Room 2, 1244 Oak Ridge Ave, McLean, VA

Speaker: Dr James Giordano of Georgetown University Medical Center

Registration: * Free * Please register at https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/188858

Contact: Murty Polavarapu murtyp@ieee.org

Abstract:

The growth of neuroscience and technology (i.e. – neuroS/T) has prompted growing interest in, development of, and concerns about the use of such techniques and tools in warfare, intelligence and national security (WINS) contexts. Many neuroS/T developments are poised for current or near-future translation to investigational to operational levels, thereby moving from “the research bench to the battlefield”.

Such neuroS/T includes various drugs, and neurotechnologies for training and performance optimization of intelligence and combat personnel; and using types of transcranial electrical signal detection in brain-computer interfaces to control aircraft or vessel systems or unmanned vehicles. As well, WINS initiatives also entail the development and engagement of agents (e.g.- drugs, microbes, toxins) and devices as weapons (“neuroweapons”) to affect and modify opponents’ thoughts, feelings, senses, actions, health, or in some cases, to incur lethal consequences.  As the recent events involving novochuk, VX, sarin, and the possible use of a neuroweapon to affect US Embassy personnel illustrate, these developments pose real and present threat.

In this lecture, neuroscientist and neuroethicist Dr. James Giordano of Georgetown University Medical Center, provides description and realistic appraisal of the capabilities and limits of neuroS/T in WINS, methods and scenarios for their use, and technical and ethical issues and steps of their oversight, guidance and governance.

Speaker Bio:

James Giordano PhD, MPhil is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry, Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and Co-director of the O’Neill-Pellegrino Program in Brain Science and Global Health Law and Policy at the Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC.  He is a Senior Research Fellow of the European Union’s Human Brain Project, working on neuroethical and regulatory issues in brain science; and serves as an appointed member of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Advisory Council on Human Research Protections. Prof. Giordano is also the Chair of Neuroethics Subcommittee of IEEE Brain Initiative.

He is the author of over 260 publications and 7 books in neuroscience and neuroethics, and 15 governmental whitepapers on bioscience, biotechnology and biosecurity, and is the Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, and Associate Editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics. Prof. Giordano was awarded a PhD in biological psychology from the City University of New York.

 

April 2019 Chapter Meeting:

Topic: Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Predictable and Unpredictable Challenges of Regulating Machine Learning Systems

When: Thursday 11 April 2019 06:30 PM

Where: To be announced

Speaker: Dr Daniel Greene of University of Maryland

Registration: * Free * Please register at https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/189111

Contact: Murty Polavarapu murtyp@ieee.org

Abstract:

We are in a new golden age of artificial intelligence research, eclipsing the postwar zenith and 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 behavior as they go. This isn’t 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 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’ve already seen plenty of dangerous failures: Computer vision systems that don’t recognize black faces or classify them as gorillas, risk assessment tools systematically rating black arrestees as riskier than white ones, hiring algorithms that learned 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 sort of accountability. This talk will review fundamental issues of fairness and equity in machine learning systems and demonstrate how they play out in the specific domain of policing. Finally, we will discuss emergent approaches for designing, auditing, and regulating these systems, and what we can learn both from other fields that have faced similar conflicts, and from activists on the ground.

Speaker Bio:

Daniel Greene is an Assistant Professor of Information Studies at the University of Maryland College Park. Prior to joining UMD, he was with Microsoft Research New England. Daniel’s research focuses on the future of work, using sociological approaches to explore the fights to define that future in workplaces, training institutions, and technological designs. He is currently at work on a book manuscript for the MIT Press that draws on years of ethnographic research to investigate the impact of learn-to-code curricula on both students and the schools and libraries deploying them.  A separate but related stream of research explores the history, design, and impact of surveillance systems.  With computer vision researcher Genevieve Patterson, Daniel recently published “The Trouble With Trusting AI to Interpret Police Body-Cam Video” in IEEE Spectrum, and he’s excited to discuss these issues with practitioners. You can find him online at dmgreene.net.

The Chapter is seeking nominations for leadership positions for 2019.  Please contact Murty Polavarapu (murtyp@ieee.org) if you are interested.

If you have any suggestions for topics and speakers, please contact the Chapter Chair Murty Polavarapu. We also need volunteers!

The IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) 2018 held locally at The George Washington University was a great success!

 

The Chapter’s most recent meetings include:

A WELLNESS-CENTRIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEM WITH INTEROPERABLE PUBLIC HEALTH: THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL GLOBAL THREATS, INTERDEPENDENCES OF THE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURES, AND GEOMEDICINE

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM COMPUTERS AND THEIR SOCIETAL IMPLICATIONS

EMERGING BIOTECHNOLOGIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND BIODEFENSE

HUMAN GENOME EDITING – PROMISE AND PERIL

THE IP GUYS, TWO ENGINEERS TURNED LAWYERS TO ENCOURAGE AND PROTECT OUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

EMERGING NEUROTECHNOLOGIES: PRACTICAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES AT THE INTERSECTION OF BRAIN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

IS TECHNOLOGY MAKING US DUMBER OR SMARTER?

SSIT’s  activities at Society level include:

  • IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, an award-winning journal containing both peer-reviewed and general interest articles.
  • The International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), held annually. Support and sponsorship of additional conferences.
  • An active network of SSIT chapters spanning the globe.
  • Awarding of the periodic IEEE Carl Barus Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Interest.
  • A Guest Lecturer program on critical topics of interest.
  • Online discussion of social impacts of technology through forums, website, blogs, and social media.
  • Support for members who speak, publish and advocate on SSIT topics within the Society or as participants in other IEEE societies and professional activities.

Membership in SSIT is open to all IEEE members and student members. Affiliation with SSIT with all benefits except voting rights is available to persons who are not members of IEEE.

Join us!

SSIT Home

Upcoming Events

Sun 17

Innovation Smart Grid Technology Conference

February 17 @ 12:00 AM - February 20 @ 12:00 AM
Sun 17

2019 IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technology conference (ISGT)

February 17 @ 8:00 AM - February 20 @ 3:30 PM
Tue 19

Telecommunications for the Parker Solar Probe

February 19 @ 5:30 PM - 7:15 PM

News

 

 

Events Calendar

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Sun 17

Innovation Smart Grid Technology Conference

February 17 @ 12:00 AM - February 20 @ 12:00 AM
Sun 17

2019 IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technology conference (ISGT)

February 17 @ 8:00 AM - February 20 @ 3:30 PM
Tue 19

Telecommunications for the Parker Solar Probe

February 19 @ 5:30 PM - 7:15 PM
Tue 26

Computer Society Chapter Planning Meeting

February 26 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM