Section News

SIGHT Humanitarian Technologies Lecture Series – New Webinars Available

Engineering the Future in the Post-COVID Era

We are witnessing an extraordinary test of the human spirit the past few months as governments and institutions worldwide take steps to protect people and prevent the spread of the global pandemic resulting from COVID-19. The world as we knew it has changed; forever. IEEE’s mission of “Advancing Technology for Humanity” has never been more relevant.

As we all work to learn the impacts on our global economy, two constants remain certain—innovation, and economic development, will remain critical drivers of regional and human success. Organisations like IEEE will play a vital role in this redeveloped world. With the switch to telework and telehealth, the technologies created by IEEE members are clearly making a difference, and will continue to play an important role in the new world economy when we emerge from this pandemic. IEEE has the power to support our members worldwide, and hold our profession together during these uncertain times.

Programs such as EPICS in IEEE, and IEEE’s Humanitarian Activities bring together students, NGOs, and professionals to address challenges in their local communities through innovative technological solutions. This presentation will address the vast resources available through IEEE to keep our members connected, engaged, and supported – as we “Engineer the Future” together in a post-COVID world.

About the Speaker: SK Ramesh, Ph.D. 2016-17 IEEE Vice President Educational Activities, Director AIMS2 Program, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering California State University, Northridge, USA

SK Ramesh is a renowned engineering educator with over three decades of leadership experience as a dean, department chair, and faculty member. The programs he established serve industry practitioners in high wage, high demand fields, including renewable energy, assistive technology, and advanced manufacturing. As 2016-17 Vice President of Educational Activities, he championed collaboration, diversity, and inclusive excellence, through innovative programs like the IEEE Learning Network (ILN).

Ramesh is an IEEE Fellow recognised for “contributions to entrepreneurship in engineering education”, and founding Director of CSU Northridge’s internationally recognised AIMS2 program ( that mentors and supports underrepresented minorities in engineering. His many recognitions include the John Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year, William Johnson International award for leadership and contributions to the profession, and the IEEE Region 6 Community Service award. Ramesh has served on the Boards of IEEE and ABET, leading volunteers and staff with shared strategic goals, measurable outcomes, and transparent fiscal leadership.

Technology as a Humanitarian Enabler – Education for Meaningful Change

Modern society has never grappled with anything as complex and pervasive as this pandemic. Undoubtedly, there has never been a more significant test of human ingenuity and tenacity, nor has there been a bigger opportunity to take stock and challenge the status quo, to create something more meaningful, more human-centric. Technology and education are unquestionable enablers of human ambition and success. This COVID-enforced pause could be an opportunity to broad-base access and to create an equitable society with freedom of opportunity permeating to the base of the pyramid.

Making quality education accessible, stimulating intellectual rigour, creating global models and rational solutions in human praxis are within-grasp possibilities. Promoting two-way learning to preserve the collective knowledge and heritage and to reduce economic and social disparities is another leap worth taking.

IEEE, with its tag-line “Advancing Technology for Humanity” is centre-stage in creating and propagating this new measure of success of a more empowered, more inclusive society.

About the Speaker: Farid Khan is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, former head of business at Hitachi Software Europe, a senior cybersecurity consultant, published writer, and, above all, a humanitarian worker.

Farid is the co-architect and Chair of the South Asia Operations of IEEE Smart Village and holds a non-exec position on the Smart Village Global Management Committee. He also sits on the IEEE HAC pre-qualification committee.

The ISV-India program has an hour-long National Geographic documentary and international awards to its credit. IEEE Smart Village was short-listed for the UNDESA prize in 2018.

Frequently cited and published, Farid is now on a semi-sabbatical – ambitiously attempting to bring succour to our beleaguered planet! Based out of London, he has extensively written and spoken on technology interventions across Asia, Europe, and the US.

He is an Electrical Engineer with a Master’s in IT Law from the University of London.

IEEE Ethics & COVID Certification Initiatives

The IEEE Standards Association’s Ethics Certification Program for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (ECPAIS) aims to create specifications for certification and marking processes that advance transparency, accountability and reduction in algorithmic bias in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS). The value of this certification process in the marketplace and society at large cannot be underestimated. The proliferation of systems in the form of smart homes, companion robots, autonomous vehicles or any myriad of products and services that already exist today desperately need to easily and visually communicate to consumers and citizens whether they are deemed “safe” or “trusted” by a globally recognised body of experts providing a publicly available and transparent series of marks.

In this brief introductory talk, an overview of the ECPAIS programme and a special initiative regarding developing certification criteria for Contact Tracing Technologies is given by Dr Ali Hessami, the IEEE ECPAIS programme VC and Process Architect.

Understanding the structure of the spread of news about Covid19 vaccination – a machine learning approach applied to Twitter data

The spread of misinformation poses a severe threat to the future take-up of a Covid-19 vaccine (Nature 13 May; ArXiv2004.00673). There are careful analyses of the sources of misinformation on social media (Covid-19 Disinformation Briefings (ISD 2020)) but these require significant individual human expertise. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the take-up of childhood vaccinations in England was declining, suggesting an already increasing wariness around vaccination. Therefore, tracing how, and when, stories about vaccines spread through the general population is important as it will improve our understanding of these processes allowing misinformation about a COVID-19 vaccine to be more effectively countered.
This talk by Dr Keeley Crockett provides a brief overview of a project that applies machine learning techniques and semantic similarity measures to obtain a wider, data-led picture of how and when information about Covid-19 and vaccines is spread via tweets.

About the Speakers:

Prof Ali Hessami

  • Process Architect and VC, IEEE-SA ECPAIS Programme
  • Chair, IEEE P7000 standard Working Group
  • Chair, IEEE UK & Ireland SIGHT

Dr Keeley A Crockett SFHEA SMIEEE

  • Reader in Computational Intelligence / Leader of the Computational Intelligence Lab
  • Chair IEEE Women in Computational Intelligence
  • Member IEEE Taskforce on Ethical and Social Implications of Computational intelligence, Part of the H2020 PACE project
  • Ethics & Wellbeing Officer, SIGHT – UK
  • Department of Computing and Mathematics, Manchester Metropolitan University