Hacker Laws

The Hype Cycle & Amara's Law

The Hype Cycle on Wikipedia

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

(Roy Amara)

The Hype Cycle is a visual representation of the excitement and development of technology over time, originally produced by Gartner. It is best shown with a visual:

The Hype Cycle

(Image Reference: By Jeremykemp at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10547051)

In short, this cycle suggests that there is typically a burst of excitement around new technology and its potential impact. Teams often jump into these technologies quickly, and sometimes find themselves disappointed with the results. This might be because the technology is not yet mature enough, or real-world applications are not yet fully realised. After a certain amount of time, the capabilities of the technology increase and practical opportunities to use it increase, and teams can finally become productive. Roy Amara's quote sums this up most succinctly - "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate in the long run".