Artificial Intelligence (AI) and associated products have rapidly evolved into a groundbreaking field, captivating the public’s imagination and revolutionising key industries — in particular, early adopters such as ad-tech, e-commerce and finance — these pathfinders for the real beneficial opportunities in health, education and agriculture.


However, with such rapid progress comes a wave of hype, inflated expectations, and subsequent disillusionment. This phenomenon, known as the “Hype Cycle“, is an inherent part of the adoption and maturation process of emerging technologies.


Today, I will explore the Hype Cycle in the context of AI, and introduce Amara’s Law, a principle that provides valuable insights into the trajectory of AI technologies.


The Hype Cycle, developed by research firm Gartner, illustrates the typical pattern of adoption and maturity of emerging technologies. It comprises five distinct phases: the Technology Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity.

(1) Technology Trigger:

This phase marks the introduction of a new technology or concept, generating significant excitement and curiosity. Breakthroughs like deep learning and reinforcement learning have sparked tremendous interest in AI, capturing the public’s attention and driving investments.

(2) Peak of Inflated Expectations:

As the technology gains momentum, hype surrounding its potential reaches its zenith. Media outlets, industry experts, and companies often exaggerate the transformative capabilities of AI, creating inflated expectations. Unrealistic projections of AI-driven utopias and hyper-intelligent machines abound in this phase.

(3) Trough of Disillusionment:

As the initial hype subsides, reality sets in, and limitations and challenges become apparent. The Trough of Disillusionment is characterised by disappointment, skepticism, and negative sentiment. AI technologies may fall short of the lofty promises made during the peak, leading to a temporary dip in public perception.

(4) Slope of Enlightenment:

During this phase, the technology matures as researchers and practitioners address challenges and learn from past experiences. The Slope of Enlightenment is marked by a more balanced understanding of AI’s potential, and successful applications start to emerge.

(5) Plateau of Productivity:

After overcoming obstacles and demonstrating value, the technology reaches a stable state of adoption. In the Plateau of Productivity, AI technologies become integrated into various industries, providing practical solutions and delivering tangible benefits.


Amara’s Law — coined by author and technologist Brad Templeton — provides a valuable perspective on the Hype Cycle. It suggests that “the AI does not live up to its initial hype, but it does become economically important.”
While artificial intelligence may not meet the sky-high expectations set during the peak of hype, it still manages to make a substantial impact in the long run. The hype cycle over bitcoin, for example, was a good example of the law in practice.
Amara’s Law acknowledges that exaggerated claims and subsequent disillusionment are natural in the evolution of transformative technologies. It encourages a realistic and grounded approach to understanding AI’s capabilities and potential applications. And as artificial intelligence progresses through the Hype Cycle, it gradually finds its niche, delivering incremental benefits that contribute to economic growth and improved human experiences.
Applying Amara’s Law allows stakeholders to maintain a measured perspective and make informed decisions regarding AI adoption. It prompts researchers, developers, and investors to focus on the long-term goals and value proposition of AI, rather than succumbing to short-lived hype or disillusionment.


The Hype Cycle provides a valuable framework for understanding the trajectory of emerging technologies, including AI products. While the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the subsequent Trough of Disillusionment are inevitable, the Slope of Enlightenment and Plateau of Productivity offer hope.
By embracing Amara’s Law, we can navigate the Hype Cycle with realistic expectations, focusing on the long-term benefits that AI can bring. Although the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence may seem concerning at times, as data privacy professionals, we can assure that this growth is perfectly manageable, and the world will indeed not end tomorrow.
Be sure to check our website for any news and updates regarding the ever-changing world of data protection.


Gartner Hype Cycle Research Methodology (2019) Gartner. Available

Mulvey, R. (2022) Amara’s law and Bitcoin, Medium. Available at:

By Nigel Gooding LLM, FBCS

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