Human Rights, Technology, and Disabilities: The Right to Benefit from
People with disabilities have significant limitations that can be alleviated with technology and specialized services, greatly expanding a world with persistent environmental and social barriers. Unfortunately, technology can be expensive and is often financially inaccessible to these individuals. Further, many technologies with proven benefits never become universally available because they are not commercially sustainable within the market-based health care system in the United States. Invoking concepts surrounding human rights may facilitate actualization of the economic and social rights of people with disabilities. Do people with disabilities have the right to expensive technology that improves integration and participation in society? What are the responsibilities of scientists who innovate, health-care providers who advocate, and health-care policy makers and third-party payers to facilitate technology access? Are private actors and institutions crucial to ensuring the rights to technology of people with disabilities? Using a scenario of neurotechnology access within a challenging technology transfer environment, we explore whether people with disabilities possess rights to life-enhancing technologies, the extent of those rights, as well as the contextual factors that shape the salience of these rights.