Advertisement

Better Than New! Ethics for Assistive Technologists

  • Anita Silvers
Chapter

Abstract

What are the fundamental values that should guide the practice of assistive technologists? This essay examines two sources that appear to inform current understandings of the ethics of assistive technology: medical ethics and engineering ethics. From medical ethics comes the notion that assistive technology should aim to restore its users to normal functioning, making them like new. Engineering ethics, on the other hand, recommends enhancing users’ functionality, even if functioning is not achieved in a species typical way. From this engineering perspective, it is permissible and even desirable for assistive technology to make its users function even better than new. Thus enhancing functionality is a central value in assistive technology. Professionals in the field have the ability, and the responsibility as well, to address and counter societal suspicion of artificially enhanced functioning achieved through technology. Consequently, assistive technology professionals should fight against discrimination that excludes people with disabilities, whose functioning depends on prostheses and other products of technology, from the mainstream of social life.

Keywords

Medical Ethic Engineer Ethic Disable People Assistive Technology Engineering Ethic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Beauchamp T, Childress J (2008) Principles of Biomedical Ethics. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cooper R (2006) Wheelchair standards: It’s all about quality assurance and evidence-based practice. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine 29(2): 93–94, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1929010 Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Microsoft Accessibility (2010) History of Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility, http://www.microsoft.com/enable/microsoft/history.aspx
  4. 4.
    National Academy of Engineering (2003) Online ethics center for engineering and research, http://www.onlineethics.org/
  5. 5.
    Rauhala M, Topo P (2003) Independent living, technology, and ethics. Technology and Disability 15(3):205–214Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (2010) Code of ethics, http://resna.org/certifications/certification-professional-st%andards-board
  7. 7.
    Rhodes R, Francis L, Silvers A (eds) (2007) The Blackwell Guide to Medical Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Schroeder P (2000) A brief history of Microsoft and accessibility. AccessWorld 1(4), http://www.afb.org/AFBPress/pub.asp?DocID=aw010402
  9. 9.
    Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008) Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, http://www.un.org/disabilities
  10. 10.
    Silvers A (2001a) No basis for justice: Equal opportunity, normal functioning, and the distribution of healthcare. American Journal of Bioethics 1(2):35–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Silvers A (2001b) Prescribing multi-functionalism to achieve equality in a world of difference. Health Ethics Today 12(1), http://www.phen.ab.ca/materials/het/het12-01a.asp
  12. 12.
    Silvers A (2003) On the possibility and desirability of constructing a neutral conception of disability. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 24(6):471–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Silvers A (2008) The right not to be normal is the essence of freedom. Journal of Evolution and Technology 18(1):79–85, http://jetpress.org/v18/silvers.htm Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Steinbock B, London AJ, Arras J (eds) (2008) Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine: Contemporary Readings in Bioethics. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Vaughn, Chairperson J (2006) Over the horizon: Potential impact of emerging trends in information and communication technology on disability policy and practice. Washington, DC, http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2006/emerging_trends.htm
  16. 16.
    Williams CJ (2010) Blind UCLA graduate can use computer-assisted reading tools during state bar exam. Los Angeles Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/05/local/la-me-blind-bar6-2010feb06
  17. 17.
    Woolston C (2010) The healthy skeptic: Be wary of products touting FDA certification. Los Angeles Times p 1, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/01/health/la-he-0301-skeptic-20100301, Health section, Features desk, Part E

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations