It is no longer possible, to imagine a world without computers and the Internet, and this is not surprising. Much more exciting developments are on the horizon. From virtual reality to artificial intelligence, if we want to prepare our kids for the future, we must first understand how we got there, and recognize the discrete catalysts that changed the game.
We have never been so close to the miracle of real life, thanks to our ability to make our dreams come true. Technology is constantly pushing back the limits imposed by nature to transform our lives and the world. The deepest skies and oceans are no longer out of reach, and technology allows us to go further and higher, to do more with less. It is a powerful weapon against disease and disability, and can be synonymous with comfort, security, connection, but also, sometimes, destruction.
Lately, Facebook has made the headlines by announcing its objective to create a system for a young generation that allows our smartphones to read our minds. What does the future hold for us?
A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
It becomes more difficult to imagine that there is anything that we and our generation cannot achieve, as long as we have enough time. Therefore, certain questions arise. How is our relationship with technology evolving? What are the consequences for people? Is access to technology now a human right? But before we can answer these questions, we must first understand how we got there.
It will be noted with interest that the advent of International Standards has played an unexpected role in this boom in advanced technologies. Without the solid foundation, they provide to enable valid and effective innovations; it would have taken much longer to get to where we are today.
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE
Even in its early days, ISO never worked in a vacuum. It was established as a network of national standards bodies and has always worked closely with international organizations and other stakeholders.
In reality, the first ISO committees like ISO-cert were mainly focused on technologies and, because standards facilitated specialization on components and applications, manufacturers were no longer forced to create all of their products from scratch. A car manufacturer could, for example, outsource the production of its tires, thereby reducing costs and rationalizing investments. From nuts and bolts to cars and ships, International Standards have always reflected current technologies and supported the development of mass production and economies of scale.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING
However, we are only touching on the approach that allows ISO standards to fuel innovation and unleash the potential for originality, while allowing reproducibility, maintaining quality and guaranteeing security.
The advent of nanotechnology between the 1980s and the beginning of the XXI the century has generated controversy and concern. These uncertainties often make investors wary of unfamiliar technologies, but ISO standards can dispel some of these doubts and build confidence by setting parameters to ensure safety and control quality.
PUSH THE LIMITS
Because they provide a foundation and an additional level of confidence that helps our brightest minds test the limits of innovation and science, standards have discreetly changed the game and promoted this technological revolution.
As for tomorrow, innovators will continue to shape and change our world at an ever-faster rate. But whatever we do, we must resist the trap of "technology for technology" or limit its scope "to a privileged few". International Standards have a valuable role to play because they raise essential questions in terms of security, sustainable development, environmental impact and, perhaps, human cost. By promoting healthy competition and lowering costs, standards will ensure that technological advances remain accessible to as many people as possible so that no significant part of humanity is left behind. We must not lose sight of the fact that at the heart of innovation, some people try to improve our lives.