The Shape of Technology

Gartner Hype Cycle

One of the world’s greatest thinkers, Peter Diamandis, refers in a recent post to the Gartner Hype Cycle, which explains how humans are rubbish at predicting the future of any particular technology, and fall into the same reactive pattern whenever something new is developed.

  • Technology trigger –> Peak of inflated expectations: When entrepreneurs (scientists) first create a new technology, they get excited about the hypothetical applications, seeing all of the future potential with few of the downsides. At that moment, hype starts to build an unfounded excitement and inflated expectations. Entrepreneurs’ optimism and imagination outpace reality.
  • Trough of disillusionment: When these inflated expectations begin to die down, and the entrepreneurs, media and financial markets begin to lose hope, we enter the trough of disillusionment. This is when people lose faith in the technology, even while the underlying technology continues its exponential growth.
  • Slope of enlightenment: Here, the continuous march of exponential doubling finally catches up with and surpasses early anticipation and expectations. Now the product enters the slope of enlightenment, and we start to see rapid advancements that can surpass even our wildest expectations.
  • Plateau of productivity: Finally, once the growth starts to slow down and mature, we enter the plateau of productivity. Here, abundant revenue is generated and we start to take the product for granted.

Once we appreciate where we are the hype cycle, it makes stuff like investing, inventing and innovating that much easier.

Let’s get on with it!

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