Why Technologies Enter the Hype Cycle and How to Move Beyond It.
Technology has become an inseparable part of our lives, and it is constantly evolving. Every year, new breakthroughs are announced, and the world is swept up in a wave of enthusiasm, popularly known as the “Hype Cycle.” But what exactly is the Hype Cycle, and why do technologies enter it? Furthermore, how can we move beyond it?
The Hype Cycle is a graph that depicts the adoption of new technologies. It was created in 1995 by Gartner, an American research and advisory company. According to the graph, new technologies start with a “Technology Trigger” (T1) phase, where they are introduced to the market. After that, they enter a second phase known as the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” (T2),where they reach the peak of their hype. The third phase, “Trough of Disillusionment” (T3), comes next, where technologies fall short of the expectations that they were initially hyped for. From there, they slowly start to recover and enter the fourth phase, “Slope of Enlightenment” (T4), where they begin to find useful applications. Finally, they reach the fifth and last phase known as the “Plateau of Productivity” (T5), where they achieve mainstream acceptance and value.
Several reasons contribute to technologies entering the Hype Cycle. First, media plays a critical role in the creation of hype. They tend to overemphasize the potential of new technologies, painting them as life-changing inventions that will transform society. Second, there is an inherent expectation to continue innovating. As a result, there is a constant need to introduce new technologies, even if they do not necessarily have practical applications in the market. Finally, human nature also plays a role. Many investors are drawn to novel technologies and can become easily convinced of the potential benefits, even if there is no concrete evidence to support it.
But how do we move beyond the Hype Cycle and start to see real value in new technologies? One solution is to focus more on practical applications rather than abstract promises about revolutionizing the market. This means continually testing and evaluating new technologies, putting them through rigorous trials to see whether they can function as advertised. Another solution is to focus on education. The public should be given a more nuanced understanding of technologies, their potential applications and limitations, and how they can be used effectively. Collectively, these strategies could help to shift focus away from hype and towards practical value, and foster more realistic expectations about new technologies in society.
In conclusion, the Hype Cycle creates short-lived excitement about new technologies, but it is essential to move beyond it. By focusing on practical applications and education, we can help develop a more realistic perspective on technological innovation, and reduce the risk of wasting resources and investment on technologies that fail to deliver as promised. Ultimately, we must strive to move beyond hype and towards meaningful innovation.