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Article Reference: ‘Technology and Social Futures’ by Gerrard Goggin

This article has been very helpful in specifically examining the role that technology plays in the lives of those who use it for medical needs. Through reading this I have learned some of the limitations that technology possesses and how the organisations that make the pieces of technology can sometimes fail to understand how the technology will be used on a personal level, where they focus on how the technology can be used commercially.

P.79. ‘Now there is widespread interest in the perceived benefits of emerging technology for improving the lives of people with disabilities.

P.79. ‘Yet a central stumbling block in technology and disability has been the lack of interest in or resistance to accounts that offer alternative, transformative accounts of disability.‘ There has been insight into the effects on technology for disabilities in a medical sense, but there are far less accounts of people who have served to delve from the other side of the story, aka the accounts of those affected. 

P.79. ‘Yet the most common way of understanding technology as something technical’, ‘hi- tech’, ‘modern’, and, especially, ‘futuristic’.

P.79. ‘Especially in relation to disability, we encounter many preconceived notions, myths, and stereotypes associated with technology.’

P.79. ‘Some kinds of technology are explicitly predicated on doing away with particular kinds of
impairments and conditions, and in doing so, threaten particular life forms, and the life, and life prospect, of some people with disabilities.’
Basically, in aiding those with a disability, you are helping part of their life, but taking away another part.

P.80. ‘Many technologies assume and inscribe particular notions and power relations of disability, without this being apparent, explicit, or contested.’

P.80. ‘In short, if we are concerned with the future of critical disability studies, then technology is key.’

P.80. ‘Technology is not only something that underpins daily life, it is key to how we imagine and arrange society’

P.82. ‘Second, feeding into and often critiquing assistive technology and the various design approaches is the ‘social model’ of disability.’ This is important to note. It is not the medical issue that is making the individual disabled. It is the society in which the person lives. This might be worth noting in the introduction ‘ this piece of writing looks at disability using the social model of disability’ – which it will be.

P.82. ‘At the heart of the model is the tenet that while people might have impairments, there are structures and oppressive power relations that underpin the kinds of inaccessible environments and barriers to participation in society that ‘disable’ people.’ Clear definition of social model of disability

P.83. ‘Too often still, technology is shaped in ways that do not acknowledge and reflect the diversities of uses of people with disabilities, and the dynamic complexities of engaging with questions of access’ There is still a problem! Technology does not always think about the different wants and needs of people with the disability.

P.83. ‘Creative, critical work allied to this endeavour is also required to open up and reimagine disability for the different, diverse, rich worlds that people actually do and wish to inhabit’ We need to re imagine how these technologies can be used. 

P.84. ‘Consider, for instance, the recurrent sense in which the promotion, advocacy, and shaping of new technologies is heavily freighted towards commercial enterprises, medical, caring, and other professionals, technologists, governmental and welfare interests, and disability service providers, rather than those intended as the recipients, consumers, and end-users of such technologies or others, including citizens, with a stake in them.’ you don’t really see a lot of accessories or help for technology by the companies. E.g. ‘hid in’ is made by someone on facebook. Its only the people that suffer with the specific disability that seek to make it more comfortable and easier to live with on a day to day basis. 

P.84. ‘The problem has been, especially with the advent of the signal changes with digital technologies that such specialized, demarcated technologies and their providers can be cut-off from the wider operations of markets in technology,’ They are cut off from  the users.

P.85. ‘So there is a very important debate continuing about the relationship between specialized and general technologies that people with disabilities might use, and also between design for specific uses, groups, and populations and larger, even mass markets (e.g. the ‘universal design’ movement;’ The technologies have been made universally. Not taking into account the wants and needs of the specific users

P.85. ‘Add to which, much technology specifically designed for, and customized for, users with disabilities can be expensive (compared to other similar technology) and not affordablE’ Here, there is another problem. Needles are being used by people who may not have the means to pumps for example. Pumps are of course more expensive. So it costs to live partly problem-free. Is there a fair balance between people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

P.85. ‘Around the world, the needs of people with disabilities to affordable accessible, and appropriately designed technology are not being met.’ striking quote.

P.85. ‘Also that some groups of users, those with higher levels of income, can be better placed to find consumer information and support in order to purchase or obtain technology they require.’ People of higher affluence may also be likely to be better educated in dealing with diabetes and where to find the means technology. What about for those who are less well off? What does the NHS provide in the UK? This might be something to look in to

P.86. ‘girls, boys, women and men with any kind of impairment, and in need of assistive technologies for other purposes than personal mobility, are discriminated against unless technologies that meet their needs are made available at affordable cost.’ striking again.

P.86. ‘Thus far, however, there is a long way to go to meet the promise of radical participation and innovation, driven by, incorporating, genuinely involving, people with disabilities as inventors, designers, users, purchasers, policy makers, and so on.’ this is important! Those who are affected must be the designers or play a big role in the design process.

P.86. ‘GDI Hub brings people together from very different backgrounds giving fresh perspectives on existing problems. Hackathons give everyone an equal voice and disabled people always play a pivotal role.’ Inclusive design is important. Do people with diabetes feel excluded? What could be imported in everyday life to make them feel more included?

P.87. ‘Just as we lack histories of disability and technology, so too we lack studies of how people with disabilities use technology in their lives, in their cultural and social settings.’

P.87. ‘This would be helped by encouraging a wide variety of studies that explore uses, meanings, and cultures of disability technology in the many settings that have not been the prime focus of the mainstream work in disability and technology.’ This is exactly what i want to do. Look at a very specific disability and rethink how the technology is designed by firstly listening to those who are affected.

P.87. ‘For instance, we surely need more research on disability and technology across many kinds of households, varied locations in social and political and public life, cultural activities, intimate life and relationships.’

P.87. ‘What is often obscured, however, are the real, material stakes for people with disabilities, and others, the emergent socio-technical terrains of disability and technology. So critical work is crucial to opening up the shaping of new technology systems, values, and imaginaries.’ The conclusion.


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