SIPC ’14 — Social Implications of Pervasive Computing for Sustainable Living – 2014 March

The Third IEEE International Workshop on the Social Implications of Pervasive Computing for Sustainable Living (SIPC ’14) being organized in conjunction with the Twelfth IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications – PerCom 2014 (http//

The conference will be held at Budapest, Hungary on 24-28 March 2014.

The workshop aims to discuss the social implications of pervasive technology used to support or facilitate a number of multi-disciplinary areas for sustainable living.

Potential workshop attendees are invited to submit papers of up to 6 pages that address at least one relevant social implication of pervasive computing and discuss how researchers can influence the direction of development. The papers will be peer-reviewed by at least two members of the program committee, and chosen according to their relevance to the scope of the workshop, the quality and originality of the submission, and their ability to stimulate and balance discussions.

The organizers will try to consider as many submissions as possible to help assemble a large community of researchers interested in the social challenges of pervasive computing. Papers will be included and indexed in the IEEE digital libraries (Xplore), showing their affiliation with IEEE PerCom.

For details, please visit:

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




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.