2021 INS Annual Meeting
Online Conference
November 4-5

Depictions of Disability and Neurotechnology

Thursday, November 4, 2021
7:30p EDT / 23:30 UTC

Human subjects research on invasive neurotechnologies often relies on people with disabilities who are seen as both the future first beneficiaries of neurotech, and first on the neurotechnology frontier. Yet the benefits of neurotech are proposed in ways that lean on ableist goals of 'fixing disability' or 'improving quality of life.' This session would compare how disability is depicted in media with the actual lives disabled people.


  • Jasmine E. Harris, University of Pennsylvania (United States)
  • Katherine E. Standefer, Author of 'Lightning Flowers'
  • The Cyborg Jillian Weise, Poet, video artist, and disability rights activist (United States)
  • Moderator: Tim Brown, University of Washington (United States)


  • Prepared question prompts for speakers (20 minutes)
  • Open discussion guided by attendee questions (40 minutes)




Jasmine E. Harris

University of Pennsylvania

Image of Katherine E. Standefer
Katherine E. Standefer

Author of 'Lightening Flowers'

Katherine Standefer is the author of 'Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life' (Little, Brown Spark 2020), which is currently a Finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction and which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice/Staff Pick. Her previous work appeared in 'The Best American Essays 2016'. She lives on a mesa in New Mexico with her chickens.

The Cyborg Jillian Weise

Poet, video artist, and disability rights activist


Image of Tim Brown
Tim Brown

University of Washington

Dr. Tim Brown is an Assistant Professor of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and a founding member of the Neuroethics Thrust within UW’s Center for Neurotechnology (CNT). His work explores the moral and interpersonal impact of machine-learning-driven brain–computer interfaces. His most recent investigations concern the potential for neural engineering and neuroscientific research to harm marginalized communities.