Skip to main content

Hype Curve

· 6 min read
John M Telford

The Hype Curve helps separate reality from fiction.

Hype Curve

Hype Curve

Points of Interest

The Hype Curve points of interest are:

Technology Trigger

A potential technology breakthrough happens.

Peak of Inflated Expectations

Early publicity produces a number of success stories and often accompanied by stories of failures. Some companies may take corrective action but most don’t.

Trough of Disillusionment

Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver on the hype.

Slope of Enlightenment

Technology consumers begin to understand the technology better and how it may benefit them.

Plateau of Productivity

Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Some technologies making it to the Plateau of Productivity may be doomed to the spiral of death by inattention to details of keeping products alive.

Some Hype Curve Guestimates

Here are some of my gustimates of where a few technologies are on their Hype Curve journeys:

5G Hype

Big time 5G hype by major carriers, started its Hype Curve climb a few years ago at the Hype Curve Technology Trigger.

A 2019 survey reported 5G hype is working as 1/3 of smartphone owners thought they had a 5G devices and service, but they didn't. Since then, major carriers have ramped up their hype machines and they are working. More 5G phones being are being sold now, but more smartphone owners think they have reliable 5G service, but they don't.

A few of those with 5G smartphones are experiencing 5G service. Illinois has the top 5G availability of 27.6% of the time, representing the proportion of time those users with 5G devices and subscription had an active 5G connection. Higher urban population areas like Illinois is where the money is for major carriers.

Some of the reasons for such service are the flavors of 5G.

  • Low-Band

  • Mid-Band

  • High-Band

The higher the band, the faster transmission speeds are, at the expense of distance and penetrating building materials.

The High-Band has much higher speed, yet degrades traveling a few hundred feet of open space, and worsens if trees are on its path. Other questions are how will smartphones receive 5G indoors and will there be 5G WiFi?

Self-driving Cars

Self-driving cars, also known as an autonomous vehicles (AV), driverless car, Auto Pilot, Full Self-Driving, Super Cruise, robotic car (robo-car), and other marketing terms, are incorporating automation. One day, some may survive to reach the Hype Curve Plateau of Productivity and evolve into cars being capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input.

Some early entries who have survived their own smoke tests, entered the Hype Curve race. Some withdrew early and some have literally crashed, burned, killed, or disobey traffic laws, in their Hype Curve race.

Levels of Autonomous Driving

Levels of Autonomous Driving, Explained

"To set agreed-upon standards early in the transition to autonomous vehicles, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a classification system that defines the degree of driving automation a car and its equipment may offer. Ranging from levels zero to five, the driving automation spectrum begins with vehicles without this technology and ends with entirely self-driving vehicles.

If a vehicle has Level 0, Level 1, or Level 2 driver support systems, an active and engaged driver is required. She is always responsible for the vehicle’s operation, must supervise the technology at all times, and must take complete control of the vehicle when necessary.

In the future, if a vehicle has Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving systems, the technology takes complete control of the driving without human supervision. However, with Level 3, if the vehicle alerts the driver and requests she takes control of the vehicle, she must be prepared and able to do so.

It is worth repeating and emphasizing the following: As of May 2021, no vehicles sold in the U.S. market have a Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving system. All of them require an alert driver sitting in the driver’s seat, ready to take control at any time. If you believe otherwise, you are mistaken, and it could cost you your life, the life of someone you love, or the life of an innocent bystander."

Where We Are

Regardless of what the self-driving car industry carnie barkers are shouting, the industry has a tough technology Hype Curve road ahead to get to Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving systems.

This is not a self-driving car. "To be sure, there are thousands of autonomous test vehicles on the road, even some without human safety monitors behind the wheel, but anything for which you can plunk down your hard-earned cash is still just a regular car. Maybe it’s a bit smarter than the cars you’re normally used to, but it’s still dumber than anything that can accurately describe itself as “autonomous.” And we need to be really clear about that."

Maybe this is good advice Please make a dumb car "Today’s cars are dumb where they should be smart, and smart where they should be dumb. Enough already. Make a car that’s pretty much all dumb and watch it sell — because what automakers are giving people is so bad, they’ll pay more to have less of it."


Metaverse is the sum of all virtual spaces such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

Facebook, oops Meta, is saying "The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. Our company's vision is to help bring the metaverse to life, so we are changing our name to reflect our commitment to this future. The metaverse will be social 3D spaces in the metaverse will let you socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine."

Is that hype or what? I think metaverse is just starting its roller coaster Hype Curve ride starting at the Technology Trigger point. Who knows, it could make it to the Plateau of Productivity in some form or other. I doubt it though, because of the many unknown thrills and spills awaiting it on its Hype Curve roller coaster ride.