Will technology put an end to disability? A Future Tense event.

Will Technology Put an End to Disability? A Future Tense Event.

Will Technology Put an End to Disability? A Future Tense Event.

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 20 2015 11:21 AM

Will Technology Put an End to Disability? A Future Tense Event.

FT-150220-Tech and disability
Technology is changing the way we think about disability.

Image by Ericsmandes/Shutterstock

Attention-grabbing advances in robotics and neurotechnology have caused many to rethink the concept of human disability. A paraplegic man in a robotic suit took the first kick at the 2014 World Cup, for instance, and the FDA has approved a bionic arm controlled with signals from the brain. It’s not hard to imagine that soon these advances may allow people to run, lift, and even think better than what is currently considered “normal”—challenging what it means to be human. But some in the disability community reject these technologies; for others, accessing them can be an overwhelmingly expensive and bureaucratic process. As these technological innovations look more and more like human engineering, will we need to reconsider what it means to be able and disabled?

We’ll discuss these questions and more at noon on Wednesday, March 4, at the New America office in Washington, D.C. The event is presented by Future Tense in collaboration with the award-winning documentary on disability and technology Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. You can find the event agenda and the trailer for Fixed below; to RSVP, click here. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and an American Sign Language interpreter will be present.


The event will also be streamed live on the New America website.  


Noon: Engineering Ability

​Jennifer French
Executive director, Neurotech Network


Larry Jasinksi
CEO, ReWalk Robotics

Will Oremus 
Senior technology writer, Slate

12:45 p.m.: T​he Promise and Peril of Human Enhancement

​Gregor Wolbring
Associate professor, University of Calgary

Julia Bascom
Director of programs, Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Teresa Blankmeyer Burke
Assistant professor of philosophy, Gallaudet University

Lawrence Carter-Long
Public affairs specialist, National Council on Disability

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.