Gartner peak inflated expectations curve

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The Devil’s Advocate

Inflated expectations of simplistic narratising, yesterday

In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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Along with the simulation hypothesis a sign of our stupid times. Gartner plots the expectations of emerging technologies as they mature, and arrives at the conclusion that we overestimate the benefits of new technology over the short term, but wildly underestimate them over the long term.

The curve sees a “trigger” — the public introduction of a nascent technology — rapidly ascending to an overblown “peak expectation”, which is impossible to fulfil, in the short term, collapses into a “disillusionment trough” before patient and unglamorous work enlightens the world, pulling expectations back up to a steadily increasing plateau.

But rather like the fatuous 10,000 hours hypothesis, the peak inflated expectations curve suffers, progressively, from a debilitating survivorship bias just at the point where the curve gets interesting, and no-one ever draws the curve quite long enough to illustrate what happens when the mature technology becomes quotidian and then archaic.

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