Generative AI hype has hit the ‘peak of inflated expectations’

17 Aug 2023

Image: © peshkova/

A new report by Gartner suggests generative AI and similar technology will reach a “transformational benefit” in the next two to five years.

There has definitely been a lot of hype surrounding generative AI this year, so a new report from Gartner on hype cycles might not be too surprising.

The company has placed generative AI on the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ in its latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report. These hype cycles are designed to give a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of certain technologies, along with predictions on how they will evolve over time.

The peak of inflated expectations is the second part of the hype cycle. Technology in this sector is defined by early publicity creating a number of success stories that are “often accompanied by scores of failures”, according to Gartner.

Generative AI has taken a lot of focus this year with the rise of chatbots like ChatGPT. These models are able to generate text, images and other types of content based on text prompts. Gartner’s report suggests that generative AI is expected to reach a “transformational benefit” within two to five years.

A graph showing five different sections and concepts such as generative AI on different points on the graph. Used to represent emerging technologies and the hype surrounding them.

Gartner’s 2023 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies graph. Image: Gartner

But Gartner also used the generative AI term to include the broader theme of “emergent AI”, which includes a range of concepts such as AI simulation, causal AI, federated machine learning, graph data science, neuro-symbolic AI and reinforcement learning.

“The popularity of many new AI techniques will have a profound impact on business and society,” said Gartner VP analyst Arun Chandrasekaran. “The massive pretraining and scale of AI foundation models, viral adoption of conversational agents and the proliferation of generative AI applications are heralding a new wave of workforce productivity and machine creativity.”

Gartner said it looked at more than 2,000 technologies to create the emerging technologies hype cycle. The report also suggests cloud computing will evolve over the next 10 years to become “pervasive” and an “essential driver of business innovation”.

“While all eyes are on AI right now, CIOs and CTOs must also turn their attention to other emerging technologies with transformational potential,” said Gartner VP analyst Melissa Davis. “This includes technologies that are enhancing developer experience, driving innovation through the pervasive cloud and delivering human-centric security and privacy.

“As the technologies in this hype cycle are still at an early stage, there is significant uncertainty about how they will evolve.”

While there can be many benefits to emerging tech like generative AI, they can also be used for nefarious purposes. Recently, examples have popped up of ChatGPT clones that have no restrictions, giving criminals a tool to easily create malware.

Earlier this year, a  Goldman Sachs report claimed generative AI products could cause “significant disruption” to the labour market and replace up to 300m jobs globally, if they live up to the hype surrounding them.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic