Every year, research firm Gartner
updates its "Hype Cycle," which traces how technologies progress from their early, heady days of innovation to a "Peak of Inflated Expectations," before settling into a "Trough of Disillusionment" and, eventually, acceptance as productive tools. Nearly every technology that’s defined our lives over the past several years—whether cloud computing, 3D printing, or augmented-reality devices—has gone for a spin on Gartner’s Cycle. Now it’s time for 2014’s edition
, in which several emerging technologies are climbing the Peak of Inflated Expectations: data science, autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things, and natural-language question-answering are just a few. Click here to find a data science job.
Meanwhile, Gartner suggests that Big Data, in-memory database management systems, content analytics, and gamification are skidding down into the Trough of Disillusionment, while 3D scanners, speech recognition, and consumer telematics have all reached the Plateau of Productivity. Some technologies take less than two years to reach that final Plateau, while others—including quantum computing and human augmentation—could wander somewhere between the Peak and the Trough for at least the next decade. A business progressing beyond the traditional Web/e-business models is more likely to embrace many of these emerging technologies. Look at Google, which is exploring many of the technologies just starting their progression through the Hype Cycle, such as smart robots, autonomous vehicles, and quantum computing. Even as some companies begin to integrate next-next-generation technology in their respective workflows, however, virtually all will continue to rely on the mature tech that defines professional life: mobile phones, email, laptops, and more.
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