Gartner has released their annual "hype cycle", which seeks to identify where technologies are in their path to maturity. Gartner thinks that drones (which are a combination of "Autonomous vehicles" and "Mobile robots" above) are 5-10 years to the "Plateau of Productivity", but with the higher "inflated expectations" still to come (followed by the inevitable "trough of disillusionment". Sounds about right to me. 

Fast Company explains the methodology of the Hype Cycle and this year's version:

Gartner, a technology research group that has been producing its hype schematic since 1995, says new technologies tend to follow a trajectory. First there's a Trigger--a breakthrough that "kicks everything off." Then, that technology invariably gets over-exposed, leading to a bubble of expectations. At that point, the whole thing implodes (think of what happened the first time around with "virtual reality"). There's a over-reaction the other way, and everyone says the technology will never make it. And so on. Until, finally, the technology--which was a good idea to start with--takes its place in the "Plateau of Productivity."

Themes this year include "bioacoustic sensing, quantified self, 3-D bioprinting, brain-computer interface, human augmentation, speech-to-speech translation," and so on--which all fall under the category of technology that could help companies produce "more capable workforces."

A second theme involves technologies that are actually replacing humans, like "volumetric and holographic displays, autonomous vehicles, mobile robots and virtual assistants." A third group sees a more equal human-technology relationship, and includes "autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, natural language question and answering, and virtual assistants."

"These three major trends are made possible by three areas that facilitate and support the relationship between human and machine," says Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. "Machines are becoming better at understanding humans and the environment--for example, recognizing the emotion in a person's voice--and humans are becoming better at understanding machines--for example, through the Internet of things."

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.

Views: 4186

Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 11, 2013 at 11:47am
I certainly think the general public is aware of UA now. I am sure the privacy kerfuffle will die down in the USA and movement will start again on the regulation process. Just in time to meet the plateau of productivity.
Comment by Gary McCray on September 11, 2013 at 11:54am

Seems to me that once super hyped Virtual Reality has spent way too long in the "Trough of Disillusionment".

Reality actually is though that it has progressed under a lot of guises they just don't call it virtual reality anymore.

It just kind of got a bad name because its initial performance was so underwhelming and expensive.

Sort of the "Edsel" of technologies.

Comment by Rory Paul on September 11, 2013 at 12:11pm

The hype in the ag sector compared to 12 months ago is through the roof and we have not even scratched the surface. 

Comment by Jack Crossfire on September 11, 2013 at 12:51pm

Not long before quad copters catch up to the onyx rift or whatever it was.

Comment by Acorn on September 11, 2013 at 5:14pm
I think it will be the "Trough of Dissapointment" when the FAA institues oppressive regulations and overly restrictive fees on drones and their pilots.
Comment by Gary McCray on September 11, 2013 at 8:47pm

@Acorn, Maybe the Pit of Outrage!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 12, 2013 at 12:33am

Or the discovery of inaction 

Comment by Cliff-E on September 12, 2013 at 1:20am

Actually I think the peak of the hype will be 2015-2016 when the FAA reg are announced. Then there's the disillusionment as:

a. collision avoidance is much harder than thought

b. trajectory planning is harder than thought

c. battery life will not drastically change

d. legal catches up (to define new rules)
--then the FAA realizes what they just allowed from 2015-2020(?)

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on September 12, 2013 at 2:36pm

Gary: The problem with VR was that the hype in the 90's was just bad. Very, very bad. And the technology available was nowhere near being able to follow trough on any of it. A lot of money and boyhood dreams was brutally crushed in the aftermath.

Even today with the new wave of enthusiasm caused by the Oculus Rift, there are still some hard problems left to solve to get the fabled "total immersion".

Comment by David Beesley on February 6, 2017 at 3:22am
Hi Chris - now that we're in 2017 I would love your thoughts on where you think drones (personal / civilian) are (or should be) situated on the hype cycle today?


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service