5 Stages of the Hype Cycle

Humans are famously bad at predicting the future of technologies.

We tend to overestimate technology’s abilities in the near-term, and massively underestimate what it can do in the long term.

The shape of that curve has come to be known as the Gartner Hype Cycle, and the five stages of that curve are important for any entrepreneur or investor to understand.

Public excitement and anticipation of every technology, be it artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, or blockchain, follow a similar path (see below).

Gartner Hype Cycle

Let's take a look at what’s going on...

  • 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.

As you study the future of exponentially growing technology, it is vital for you to realize where you are in this hype cycle.

This ability to recognize points in a hype cycle is a key piece to reading an exponential roadmap, and will allow you to leverage these world-changing technologies to pursue your Moonshot.

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