The hottest technologies are all losing steam simultaneously

Have you noticed that many of the most anticipated technologies of the past years all seem to be losing steam at the moment?

Self driving cars? Lots of doubts.
Blockchain? Still lacking killer applications, and the corporate world is losing interest.
Crypto currencies? Things are said to be worse than during the dot-com crash.
Virtual reality? It doesn’t look good right now.
Machine Learning/AI? Stuck.

Applying the framework from Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies, these technologies all are entering at least some type of “Trough of Disillusionment” (although this year’s edition notably doesn’t draw a proper picture of the situation, completely leaving out some of these technologies and reframing others) – some not for the first time.

The fact that the optimism and excitement surrounding these technologies is abruptly waning does not say anything about their future potential, and neither about the nature of challenges and problems that caused the hype to lose steam. There might be serious conceptional or technological flaws, but there also simply might have been an exaggerated level of expectations to begin with, which inevitably requires a correction into the opposite direction.

The situation most likely will be just a confirmation of the famous Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Who seriously has doubts that eventually, at least in certain geographical areas, self driving cars will be a reality?

But talking about the short term, the simultaneous, sudden disillusionment about most of the hottest tech topics of the past years raises the question what will fill the attention and excitement gap created by the temporary “loss” of these contenders?

Judging from the positive reactions to the newest Apple Watch and the increasing number of people walking around with AirPods (at least in major cities), smartwatches and wearables might actually become a mainstream thing now, at last. And the success of smart speakers as well as IKEA’s market entry suggest that even the Smart Home is finally turning from a theoretical “next big thing” into a serious category with consumer appeal, despite persisting security issues and eternal mockery of the smart fridge. Also Augmented Reality (AR) might finally go somewhere, considering how Apple is contentiously improving the AR capabilities of iOS and the iPhone (this is also what Gartner’s hype cycle forecasts).

What other hot technology might we talk about over the course of the next months, in case self-driving cars, blockchain and AI indeed should take a longer break from the hype?

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