Conclusion

The views expressed here are not opposed to progress in science and technology. As a lab bench biochemist, it would be strange for me to oppose S&T in general. Rather, this essay emphasizes the importance of openness to different perspectives on what qualifies as progress (Wolbring, 2002b). Science and Technology can be extremely useful, but certain perceptions, stereotypes, and societal dynamics can lead scientists and engineers to focus on certain types of S&T, quite apart from their objective utility to potential users.

This is not merely an issue of fairness to diverse groups of people, including the disabled. It is also an issue of imagination and insight. Convergent technologies will accomplish so much more for humanity, and unification of science will lead to so much greater knowledge, if they are free of the ignorant prejudices of the past. Specifically, science and engineering will benefit from the varied perspectives that the disabled may have about what it means to improve human performance. One essential tool to achieve this is to make sure that the teams of researchers, designers, and policy makers include many talented people who happen to be disabled.

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