The complexities of communicating with machines


Date: 19-05-2020

But how do we communicate with machines? In the field of computer technology, human to machine interfaces have progressed from the use of punch cards to onscreen textual commands and graphical user interfaces. Recent developments have incorporated touch screens and voice commands commonly used with digital assistants, tablets and smart phones. Human auditory, visual, and tactile senses are being exploited to interact with our digital environment.

As these technologies become more widespread, however, all members of society should be able to participate. Consideration must be given to ensure that access to IT devices is equitable and inclusive, including for those with special needs. This not only helps to ensure wider product adoption but also facilitates access to societal and business opportunities for everyone.

More than 20 years ago, the joint IEC and ISO technical committee for ICT (ISO/IEC JTC 1) established a subcommittee that provides standardization in the field of user system interfaces (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35). It seeks to provide standardized and user-friendly interfaces for all users, including those with accessibility issues or with special needs, and ensure that the interfaces can be adaptable across cultural and linguistic barriers.

e-tech recently spoke with the Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35, Khalid Choukri, to learn more about the subcommittee’s standardization work.