“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It’s been 50 years since Armstrong and Aldrin set foot in the Sea of Tranquility, fulfilling Kennedy’s ambitious promises and effectively ending the space race. The success of Apollo 11’s mission was a game-changing event for a nation, and our species.

In the decades since, there have been so many examples of technology achieving the seemingly impossible – genetic engineering, nanotechnology, the internet – that it’s become harder and harder to align mankind’s desire to make progress with the ethical justifications of doing so (as Jeff Goldblum tells Dickie Attenborough in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”).

From our iPhones to our smart homes, technology is all around us, and the implications of its inexorable march are impossible to dismiss. Will AI make our jobs redundant? Might the wider galaxy offer a solution to earth’s dwindling resources? And can technology really solve the Irish backstop?

For better or for worse, it’s going to be crucial in tackling the challenges ahead – and the same goes for our businesses. In the latest instalment of The Big Question, we asked the trade which new technologies were having the biggest impact on their working lives. Topics such as distance working (enabled by Cloud-based technology) and more streamlined mobile shopping are mentioned – but most prominent is the rapid evolution of 3D modelling capabilities.

Like the look of that sofa? Rotate it, replace the upholster, inspect it up close, simulate how it’ll look in your living room, and check how well it fits. And that’s just the start.

Enabling outcomes such as virtual prototyping, rapid PoS generation, and virtual or augmented reality experiences (Ikea, for one, is set to relaunch its AR app in the UK late this year with purchasing options), 3D renders are starting to replace traditional photography in the furniture industry, promising shoppers richer, more interactive online shopping journeys.

Thanks to the increasingly photorealistic quality of these renders, the uncanny valley between fact and fiction is closing.

Back in 1969, the moon landing was watched on TV by at least one fifth of the world’s population – yet a series of questionable details, coupled with the sheer audacity of the expedition, have ensured that conspiracy theories still persist. For better or worse, if NASA could pull off a hoax of that scale 50 years ago, just what might they get away with today?

Take a look at our August issue to discover how creative digital specialists such as Orbital are making their mark on the trade, and why an increasing number of leading retailers are embracing the potential of these new technologies.

CG moonscape render courtesy of Orbital