The Hype Cycle

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Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2013

Gartner have recently updated their ‘hype cycle’ for emerging technologies to 2013.

Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle Special Report provides strategists and planners with an assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 2,000 technologies, grouped into 98 areas.

There’s a picture summary above and they’ve broadly classified the technologies via:

1. Augmenting humans with technology eg wearable user interfaces

2. Machines replacing humans eg mobile robots

3. Humans and machines working alongside each other eg autonomous vehicles

4. Machines better understanding humans and the environment eg mobile health monitoring

5. Humans better understanding machines eg machine-to-machine communication services

6. Machines and humans becoming smarter eg big data, quantum computing

The hype cycle is just a model of course (see here)

The Hype Cycle has its holes. Not all technologies get over-hyped, fall into irrelevance, and then make it. Some just make it outright–or don’t. And Gartner’s theory is highly subjective: we could all place the same technologies in different places along the Hype Cycle. The company is hardly a disinterested observer: it manufactures hype itself, making the Hype Cycle seem quite meta.

But the chart does shed light on something that we often fail to see: technology rises and falls because of our belief in it.

There’s a useful summary of the hype cycle approach, together with it’s criticisms, here (which includes the interesting picture below).

Hype-Cycle-GeneralPicture credits: top and bottom.

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