Honors College Thesis


Disability to Super-Ability: Issues Along The Human Enhancement Spectrum Public Deposited

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  • Advancements in the field of medical and computer technology promise a new age of human enhancement technology (HET). These technologies may be aptly applied to existing Assistive Technology (AT), which was created to ameliorate disability, moving one up the spectrum of ability. This study aimed to determine how these technologies might act as a means or an impediment to living The Good Life, that is, a life of good health, purpose, fellowship, pleasure, and transcendence. Research was conducted in-person (prior to COVID-19) and remotely through Zoom. Research activities included guided interviews and open discussion with individuals living with physical disability. The interviews highlighted four primary issues with AT, representing barriers to achieving The Good Life: (1) cost, (2) distribution, (3) education, and (4) assessment, design, and customization. Corroboration with literature revealed a fundamental issue with AT: stigma leading to diminishment of humanity. These issues must be overcome for AT to improve one’s opportunity to live The Good Life. Considerate policy decisions might address issues of cost, distribution, and assessment, yet, stigma represents an underlying issue that may become exacerbated by new forms of AT.
  • Key Words: Human enhancement technology, assistive technology, disability, The Good Life
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