Future Transhumanist Tech May Soon Change The Definition Of Disability

Publication Title
Publication/Creation Date
September 14 2015
Zoltan Istvan (creator)
B.J. Murphy (contributor)
Hugh Herr (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
[Image Description: A robotic hand holding a set of keys]

Using MIT bionics designer Hugh Herr's TEDTalk as inspiration, transhumanist Zoltan Istvan discusses the myriad of technologies that are available for disabled people to "overcome" their disabilities, such as bionic limbs, exoskeletons, and stem cell advancements. Istvan assumes that all disabled people "are suffering and are mentally depressed as a result of their handicaps", and therefore must all want to become able-bodied. He then goes beyond disability to imagine all people embracing these technologies in order to outperform current human capabilities. 

He ponders questions that another prominent transhumanist, B.J. Murphy posed to him, "In the future where mostly everyone is able bodied, how might we define ‘disability?’ Surely, as the disabled become augmented and/or enhanced, our current definition of what makes someone disabled — not able bodied — will be done away with altogether. Though, how do we then consider those who are, albeit able-bodied, not augmented or enhanced? Do we change the definition of ‘disability‘ as something which someone simply is when not modified with advanced technologies?”
HCI Platform
Location on Body
Entire Body
Marketing Keywords
Argus II, Second Sight

Date archived
May 14 2018
Last edited
November 16 2018
How to cite this entry
Zoltan Istvan. (September 14 2015). "Future Transhumanist Tech May Soon Change The Definition Of Disability". TechCrunch. Verizon Media. Fabric of Digital Life. https://fabricofdigitallife.com/index.php/Detail/objects/2988