Will Technology Put an End to Disability?


In collaboration with the award-winning documentary on disability and technology, Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement.

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?


12:00 PM: Engineering Ability

Jennifer French

Executive Director, Neurotech Network


Larry Jasinksi

CEO, ReWalk Robotics


Will Oremus

Senior Technology Writer, Slate


12:45 PM: 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


The venue is wheelchair accessible and ASL will be provided.

Follow the discussion online using #Tech&Disability and following @FutureTenseNow