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Transdisciplinary Dialogue for Public Interest Technology

Institutionalizing PIT

March, 2023

Although Public Interest Technology (PIT) is a nascent field, it builds on longstanding scholarly traditions of investigating the interplay between technology and society. Roba Abbas of the University of Wollongong and Katina Michael of Arizona State University have led a groundbreaking effort to cultivate scholarship that encourages transdisciplinary dialogue and advocates for the development of PIT. 

The journal IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, was the first academic outlet to publish a special issue dedicated to PIT, providing a wealth of scholarship building on the outcomes of the IEEE SSIT’s International Symposium on Technology and Society 2020 (ISTAS20). Each edition includes at least one free, downloadable PDF, including:

A Conceptual Model and Metaplatform for Public Interest Technology Design: “[D]esigning public interest technologies (PIT) needs to prioritize qualitative values of people and communities as suprafunctional requirements.” (Jeremy Pitt and Stephen Cranefield, Vol. 2, Issue 2, June 2021)

Bringing Care and Concern to Engineering Students Through STS Knowledge“In this article, I discuss how the matters of concern and the matters of care can be utilized within engineering education to shift students’ attitudes regarding the social impact of their work.” (Anne Y. Patrick, Vol. 2, Issue 2, June 2021)

Insider Threats and Individual Differences: Intention and Unintentional Motivations: This study extends “research on the development of a brief cybersecurity questionnaire … to identify individual differences that are associated with cybersecurity vulnerabilities and cyber hygiene behavior.” (Jordan Richard Schoenherr, Vol. 3, Issue 3, September 2022)

What Happens to COVID-19 Data After the Pandemic? Socio-Technical Lessons: “In this paper, we examine the Australian COVID-19 technological response…was the data effectively used or integrated into the proposed processes?” (Katina Michael and Roba Abbas, Vol. 3, Issue 4, December 2022)

Several of the journal’s PIT articles were first presented at ISTAS20, which featured 210 abstracts and represented over 400 authors from 27 countries. The Full Conference proceedings are available, as are the special issues on socio-technical design, co-designing the future, and purpose-driven socio-technical innovation for PIT.

You can subscribe to the quarterly publication here, and submit articles here.

Roba Abbas

Author: Roba Abbas, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, University of Wollongong. Visiting Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University (2022)

Author: Katina Michael, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, Arizona State University. Honorary Professor School of Business, University of Wollongong (2022- )