It’s common knowledge that most new technologies are
overhyped during early development. Technology advisory firm Gartner terms this
process the hype cycle and suggests
that there are five stages. Sure, it's made up and it's not really a cycle, but we'll go with it:
- Technology trigger: Laboratory or theoretical
results suggest a promising new area known mostly to topical experts. Industry
and the press largely have not picked up the story yet
- Peak of inflated expectations: Popular press
and industrial leaders learn of the technology and appreciate the
potential benefits but not the technical risks and limitations. Some early
demonstrators may be revealed as successes; the bugs may not be publicly known.
- Trough of disillusionment: Commercial
implementations produce mixed results once customers put the technology into
use and expose flaws. Major early projects may fail.
- Slope of enlightenment: Problems are fixed in
second-generation products following in-service experience. Industry begins to
change its ways of doing business to take full advantage of the new technology.
- Plateau of productivity: The technology becomes mainstream
in industry; incremental improvement maximizes performance.
is electric aircraft propulsion in the hype cycle?