Event – John Villasenor and cryptocurrencies

Villasenorj Image

Please join us at 4PM EDT on March 17 for a discussion on cryptocurrencies with John Villasenor, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and professor of electrical engineering and public policy at UCLA. John will give a brief overview of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, describe some recent events related to these currencies, and take questions from chat participants. Also joining us for the discussion will be Manish Gupta, the co-creator of the DogeApi, the most popular API for working with DogeCoin.

The event is expected to last about 45 minutes.

Visit the SSIT G+ Community page for more information on this event.

Catch it on YouTube (assuming all of this technology works)

ISTAS13 (2013 Toronto)

Theme – “Smartworld”

Living in a Smart World – People as Sensors

Download the ISTAS13_Poster

ISTAS’13 presenters and panellists addressed the implications of living in smartworlds – smart grids, smart infrastructure, smart homes, smart cars, smart fridges, and with the advent of body-worn sensors like cameras, smart people.

The environment around us is becoming “smarter”. Soon there will be a camera in nearly every streetlight enabling better occupancy sensing, while many appliances and everyday products such as automatic flush toilets, and faucets are starting to use more sophisticated camera-based computer-vision technologies.  Meanwhile, what happens when people increasingly wear these same sensors? 

A smart world where people wear sensors such as cameras, physiological sensors (e.g. monitoring temperature, physiological characteristics), location data loggers, tokens, and other wearable and embeddable systems presents many direct benefits, especially for personal applications. However, these same “Wearable Computing” technologies and applications have the potential to become mechanisms of control by smart infrastructure monitoring those individuals that wear these sensors.

There are great socio-ethical implications that will stem from these technologies and fresh regulatory and legislative approaches are required to deal with this new environment.

This event sought to explore outcomes related to:

  1. Consumer awareness
  2. Usability
  3. A defined industry cluster of new innovators
  4. Regulatory demands for a variety of jurisdictions
  5. User-centric engineering development ideas
  6. Augmented Reality design
  7. Creative computing
  8. Mobile learning applications
  9. Wearables as an assistive technology

“Smart people” interacting with smart infrastructure means that intelligence is driving decisions. In essence, technology becomes society.


Opening Keynote Address

Professor Mann University of Toronto spoke at the opening keynote panel with acclaimed Professor of MIT Media Arts and Sciences, Marvin Minsky​ who wrote the groundbreaking book The Society of Mind  and has helped define the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) among his major contributions.

General Chair of ISTAS13 and formerly a member of the MIT Media Lab under the guidance of Nicholas Negroponte in the 1990s Mann is long considered to be the Father of Wearable Computing and AR in this young field.

View introductory video by Professor Steve Mann.


ISTAS13 was held on the 27th, 28th and 29th June 2013.


ISTAS13 was held in Toronto, Canada at the University of Toronto (UoT).​

 Media Releases


ISTAS13 Short Media Statement

University of Toronto Media Release

ISTAS13 UOW Press Release


The IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) is an annual international forum sponsored by the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). ISTAS13 is the annual symposium of the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) which dates back to 1989.


The ISTAS13 event was a powerful lineup of leaders from various fields of research coming together in a transdisciplinary manner. This symposium  prepared consumers for better understanding innovations in human computing and IT wearables, social implications and likely impacts on users of the technology.


ISTAS ’13 was a transdisciplinary event for engineers, designers, scientists, artists, researchers in the social sciences, law and humanities, decision makers, entrepreneurs, inventors, commercializers, etc. You are likely to connect with designers, artists, sustainists, scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians (DASSTEMist).


Download the Three-Day-Program-ISTAS13

Sites Of Interest in Toronto

  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Eaton Centre (vertical atrium shopping centre)
  • Dundas Square at night (outside the Eaton Centre)
  • CN Tower
  • Canadian Opera Company
  • National Ballet of Canada
  • Distillery District
  • St. Lawrence Market
  • Active Surplus Electronics (famous for engineering enthusiasts), as well as two smaller electronics stores adjacent to UofT.
  • Honest Ed’s (a department store, lit by 23,000 light bulbs at night. Near Bathurst subway station)
  • Boat ride in Toronto harbor (various private tourist boats and sailboats)

Toronto is known for live theatre, in 3rd place behind New York and London.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre
  • Royal Alexandra Theatre
  • Ed Mirvish Theatre
  • Panasonic Theatre
  • Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre
  • Tarragon Theatre
  • Factory Theatre
  • Massey Hall
  • Roy Thompson Hall




Volume 32 – Number 3 – Fall 2013

TS Fall 2013 (3)

Ubiquitous Wearable Technologies



The Beauty of In-Person Meetings
Laura Jacob

Putting Technology into Perspective in Asia
Katina Michael

7 ISTAS’14/ETHICS 2014

Empowering Sustainable Consumption
Clinton J. Andrews

Networks, Crowds, and Markets

A Decision Support System to Assist the Rural Poor in Bangladesh
Michael Gurstein

Critical Success Factors of Convergency Technology Commercialization: Near Field Communication*
Sungbum Kim, Taeyong Yang, and Dongwook Kim

Guest Editors: Martin R. Gibbs, Philip Hall, and Shiro Uesugi



31 mHEALTH-PHC: An ICT Tool for Primary Healthcare in India*
N. Bondale, S. Kimbahune, and A. Pande
This platform seeks to improve availability and access to quality healthcare for rural communities.

39 Open Source ICT Framework for Developing Countries*
Anuja Meetoo-Appavoo, Anwar Chutoo, Paramasiven Appavoo, and Begum Durgahee
Increased use of open-source software resources can bring significant economic benefits.

48 Clean, Renewable Energy: Improving Women’s Lives in South Asia*
Reihana Mohideen
Small-scale, off-grid renewable energy systems are an appropriate and viable option to provide energy to remote rural communities.

56 Perceptions of a Wearable Ubiquitous Monitoring Device*
Stuart Moran, Toyoaki Nishida, and Keiichi Nakata
Behavioral changes and other undesirable effects could arise from the use of ubiquitous monitoring systems.


65 Renewable Energy Technologies for Cooking: Transforming Rural Lives*
Shailesh Upadhyay, D.P. Kothari, and Ujala Shanker
Renewable technologies hold great promise in rural areas.

73 Information Ethics in Reuse of Public Sector Information in China*
Ying Wang
Four key issues in information ethics for public sector agencies in China are privacy, property, accuracy, and accessibility.


*Refereed articles

Cover Image: FITBIT.





Abstract-IEEE ISTAS 13

Early in the 21st Century, Intelligence will Underlie Everything of Value

Ray Kurzweil KurzweilAI, United States

At the onset of the 21st century, it will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy, and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity. The paradigm shift rate is now doubling every decade, so the twenty-first century will see 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate. Computation, communication, biological technologies (for example, DNA sequencing), brain scanning, knowledge of the human brain, and human knowledge in general are all accelerating at an even faster pace, generally doubling price-performance, capacity, and bandwidth every year. Three-dimensional molecular computing will provide the hardware for human-level “strong” AI well before 2030. The more important software insights will be gained in part from the reverse-engineering of the human brain, a process well under way. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, we will ultimately merge with our machines, live indefinitely, and be a billion times more intelligent…all within the next three to four decades.

Keywords: intelligence innovation brain society philosophy computation communication biology human

Steve Mann – General Chair Address

My grandfather taught me to weld when I was 4 years old, so early in my life I became aware of what the world looked like when “Seen Through the Glass, Darkly”.  Darkglass (the welder’s glass) diminishes reality.  Diminished Reality is the logical opposite of Augmented Reality.

A childhood vision of mine was to use television cameras and miniature displays, with contrast adjustment, to be able to

see-in-the-dark while still being able to clearly see the electric welding arc without hurting my eyes.

In my childhood, back in the 1970s, as an amateur scientist and amateur inventor, my experiments in contrast reduction became experiments in a general-purpose wearable computer system, using hybrid analog and digital computing equipment.  I also began to add overlays of text and graphics on top of my visual reality.

I started to think of the “Digital Eye Glass” as something to be used to help people see better in everyday life, not just while welding. Around that time others started putting electronics in glass, e.g. 3M’s Speedglas/Speedglass was introduced in 1981.

Wearing “Glass” in everyday life back then scared people — first because it looked strange — which later was to become something people thought was “cool” rather than strange — but ultimately because of the sensors/camera(s).

As I refined the Glass into a sleek and slender eyeglass form-factor in the 1980s and early 1990s the appearance became acceptable to the general public, but I began to find myself harassed by police and security guards afraid that the “Glass Eye” might be recording them.

How ironic it was that the very people who were installing and monitoring surveillance cameras — watching us — were the people most afraid of being watched!

Glass (Digital Eye Glass, GlassEye, Mannglas, Speedglas, etc.) became a metaphor for a fragile and transparent society.  We can learn a lot from a society by how readily its police accept Glass — i.e. how readily the society accepts reciprocal transparency and the mutual vulnerability we share when the “Glass Eye” becomes as commonplace as the surveillance cameras of the authorities.

This year’s ISTAS theme, therefore, is not Surveillance (Watching from above, in a hierarchy, e.g. police watching suspects) but, rather, Veillance (watching in a politically neutral sense).

 Please join us as we explore this half-silvered world of two-way transparency.

IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology


Katina Michael at the University of Wollongong, guest editor of the June 2013 Computer magazine special issue on Big Data: New Opportunities and New Challenges, talks about the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT), IEEE Technology and Society (T&S) magazine, and the International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS).

View the video on YouTube


From Computer’s June issue:http://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/co/…. Visit Computer:http://www.computer.org/computer.

Volume 31- Number 3 – Fall 2012

Ethics and Etiquette of Multitasking

SSIT Board Member Message
News and Notes
Book Review

10 Viewpoint: Through the Glass, Lightly
Steve Mann
15 The Ethics and Etiquette of Multitasking in the Workplace*
Raquel Benbunan-Fich

20 Affordability, Social E-Inclusion, and Addiction in Telecommunications*
L-F Pau
27 The Challenge of Universal Service in 21st Century Portugal*
Raquel Castro Madureira, A. Manuel de Oliveira Duarte, and Raquel Matias-Fonseca
34 Planning and Designing Smart Grids: Philosophical Considerations*
P.F. Ribiero, H. Polinder, and M.J. Verkerk
44 Current Trends in Pan-European Identity Management Systems*
Sergio Sánchez García, Ana Gómez Oliva, Emilia Pérez Belleboni, and Iván Pau de la Cruz
51 Biomedical Engineering Education for Developing Countries*
Tania S. Douglas
58 Facebook and Greek Elections: New Fad or Real Transformation?*
Konstantinos Parisopoulos, Efthimios Tambouris, and Konstantinos Tarabanis

*Refereed articles

Cover Images: IStock