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Factually! With Adam Conover Explores What Tech Gets Wrong about Disability

by Caroline Hansen

Factually! With Adam Conover, is one piece of Adam Conover’s impressive resume. Adam Conover is a writer, comedian, creator, and host of the television shows Adam Ruins Everything and The G Word with Adam Conover. Factually! With Adam Conover is his first work in podcasting, and is now in its fourth year of production. His podcast includes interviews ranging from global politics, and health, to sillier topics such as the history of hot dogs. 

In this episode, Conover interviews Ashley Shew, professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia Tech. The hour and fourteen-minute episode dives deep into a societal tendency to want to “solve” disability through technology. Shew coins the term “technoabilism” as the technology being marketed to you that is deemed as life-changing and a “cure”. However, these technologies push a narrative that being okay with being disabled is not okay. While technological innovations for disability seem beneficial, Shew and Conover discuss the practicalities of life and disability that are left out in the development process of these technologies. 

The episode includes a discussion on the difference between impairments and disability, along with the variability of disability. The interview is funny and informative while including nuance about ableism in and outside of the disabled community. Shew highlights various models of disability and does not shy away from pros and cons in everything she discusses. Conover is a wonderful interviewer who asks intellectually stimulating questions while remaining empathetic with the interviewee. Both can pull from their personal experiences of disabilities. Shew’s experience of “chemo brain”, her Crohn’s disease, and her leg amputation are all covered highlighting that a single disability does not exist in a vacuum. Conover also discusses his eye impairments and ADHD, and how these more common disabilities are sometimes swept under the rug and not truly seen as disabilities. Together, Shew and Conover can utilize their various experiences to offer a diversity of viewpoints on disability as a whole.

Overall, Factually! With Adam Conover: What Tech Gets Wrong about Disability with Ashley Shew educates the listener on various perspectives on disability. 

This podcast is available on all podcast streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and on their website.