AI in the Gartner Hype Cycle

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When you’re surrounded by media coverage about new technology, it can be difficult to discern what really matters. This is no different for artificial intelligence (AI).

The Gartner Hype Cycle is one tool that can help. It is published annually, and the latest one focuses on AI as one of the ‘mega trends’ in emerging technology.

The model suggests that every new technology follows the same five stages through the public’s consciousness from its conception to widespread adoption, and acts as a graphical representation for those stages.

It demonstrates that time and again, society tends to overestimate the effect of a new technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

Intouch has put together a video showing how the hype cycle works:


The five stages are as follows:

Stage 1 – the Innovation Trigger

This is the moment a new concept appears. It’s too soon to know how this technology will affect the world, and there may only be prototypes available – but people still get excited. Technologies like smart dust are currently in this phase.

Stage 2 – the Peak of Inflated Expectations

As word spreads the new technology climbs up the curve. Media coverage increases, and we see use beyond early adopters. Technologies like connected homes are currently in this stage, and AI arguably is too.

Stage 3 – the Trough of Disillusionment

But as the phrase ‘inflated expectations’ indicates, all that hyperbole leads to a backlash when some of the boldest predictions turn out to be overblown.

The public becomes disappointed and perceptions of the technology become negative. These days, augmented reality is down here.

Stage 4 – the Slope of Enlightenment

As things quiet down, though, the new technology can slowly gain real traction. Virtual reality is here now. Improvements are made, more people use the new technology, and the world starts to understand its purpose.

Stage 5 – the Plateau of Productivity

Here, the technology becomes an accepted part of our world. Tools like speech recognition have now reached this phase.

The Gartner hype cycle helps to depict the build up and levelling off that new technologies typically go through. It helps us to remember that while the ups and downs of public opinion happen, we must look through them to discern the real promise of a new technology. AI is still making its way through the hype. But now is the time to understand how it will change our world.

For more information on the Gartner Hype Cycle and AI in pharma marketing, download Intouch’s free ebook at