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.

See below for our February and March 2021 meetings.

Our meetings are now accessible by WebEx from wherever you are in the world! You must register at the Registration link and ask for WebEx instructions under Special Request area on the registration site.

February 10, 2021 IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology Chapter Meeting (organized by IEEE Boston Section’s Life Members Affinity Group):

Topic: Brain Wave Therapy: Opportunities and Challenges of Gamma-Inducing Brain Stimulation Interventions in Alzheimer’s Disease

When: 10 February 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Where: Online only (Please register to receive access information)

Speaker: Dr Emiliano Santarnecchi of Harvard Medical School


Contact: Murty Polavarapu

Abstract: Thanks to advances in public health and medicine, the life expectancy of the world population continues to lengthen. While longer lifespan is a unique opportunity for society to benefit from the wisdom and experience of the elderly, aging is however also the greatest risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. A fundamental neurobiological substrate of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration appears to involve alteration of neuroinflammatory processes with associated deposition of aberrant proteins in the brain, such as amyloid-β (Aβ) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau). Recent pre-clinical work from MIT reveals that induction of fast brain oscillations in the gamma band in mice can modulate activity of microglia, modify inflammatory brain processes, and lead to clearance of Aβ and p-tau deposition in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Translation of such findings to humans could have transformative impact for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related Dementias, also in light of recent failures of drug-based trials. The presentation will cover recent translational work by Dr. Santarnecchi and his team on the application of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques to induce brain oscillatory activity and protein clearance in patients with Dementia, including currently undergoing first-in-human clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Speaker Bio: Emiliano Santarnecchi is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA), the director of the CME course in “Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES) for neuropsychiatric research” at Harvard Medical School, an affiliated Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Northeastern University (Boston, MA, USA), and the director of the Network Control Laboratory at BIDMC. His main interests lie in the combination of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS), electrophysiology (e.g., EEG, MEG) and neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, DTI, ASL) to modulate brain activity and measure brain’s capacity to respond to external perturbation. He is particularly interested in the development and application of image-guided brain stimulation solutions to increase brain plasticity, modulate connectivity patterns and enhance cognition, with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapeutic options for neurological and psychiatric patients. His work particularly focuses on the application of oscillatory electrical fields (e.g., transcranial alternating current stimulation – tACS) to induce long-lasting changes in brain oscillations which might translate into therapeutic opportunities for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias.

March 11, 2021 IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology Chapter Meeting (organized by the United Kingdom and Ireland Chapter):

Topic: Working in the Smart City

When: 11 March 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Where: Online only (Please register to receive access information)

Speaker: Dr Clinton Andrews of Rutgers University


Contact: Murty Polavarapu

Abstract:Not since the era of the family farm has such a large fraction of the employed population worked from home. The spike in remote work due to COVID-19 pandemic is temporary, but it highlights an underlying trend. Remote work at home and in “third” places such as cafes, hotels, and airports has been enabled by access to wireless networks and mobile cloud computing collaboration software. Such a spatial and temporal fragmentation of related work activities is not available to everyone, but it affects an increasing fraction of the population. It features prominently in popular images of the future of work. This presentation examines how the relationship between space, technology, and the workplace has developed over time, how power relations embedded in these overlapping physical and cyberspaces constrain our behavior, and what novel ethical and equity concerns arise in the emerging smart city. It relies on original interview and observation data from the New York (USA) metropolitan area augmented by national statistics. Findings include identification of multiple points where control of overlapping physical and cyberspaces either enables or prevents the fragmentation of work activities. These carry important implications for those who work in the smart city and those who design it.

Speaker Bio: Clinton Andrews is a professor of urban planning and associate dean for research at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. He was educated at Brown and MIT in engineering and planning, and worked previously in the private sector and at Princeton University. He teaches public informatics, industrial ecology, green building, and coastal risk. Andrews performs research on how people use the built environment and the implications for work, climate, energy, resilience, sustainability, and health. His books include Humble Analysis: The Practice of Joint Fact-Finding, Regulating Regional Power Systems, and Industrial Ecology and Global Change. He just completed service as co-editor of the Journal of Planning Education and Research and is now President of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a licensed Professional Engineer, a Fellow of AAAS, and an avid experimenter with new methods for collecting field data in urban settings.

The Chapter is still seeking nominations for leadership positions for 2021.  Please contact Murty Polavarapu ( if you are interested.

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

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!