Monday 20 August 2018 10:19 pm

Flying cars, AI and blockchain: These are the top tech trends in Gartner's 2018 Hype Cycle

Artificial intelligence (AI), self-driving cars and distributed ledger technology – otherwise known as blockchain – are among this year’s emerging technology trends, though some have moved closer to the so-called trough of disillusionment.

Research firm Gartner’s annual hype cycle, which tracks where tech trends are on their journey from an idea to mainstream usage, today determined driverless tech and blockchain to have passed their peak hype phase of inflated expectations.

While blockchain might reach the so-called plateau of productivity within five to 10 years, it’ll be more than a decade before autonomous driving in its current form reaches the same maturity as smartphones.

However artificial intelligence as a whole, particularly that which will be available to the masses or “democratised”, is represented through different technologies on three out of the five sections of the 2018 cycle. Artificial general intelligence, for example, is just getting started.

Gartner’s research vice president Mike Walker said we could expect to see some democratic AI, such as well-known voice assistants Alexa and Siri, reach mainstream adoption within the next two to five years.

Gartner's top five emerging technology trends



Democratic AI

Alexa, flying and self-driving cars

Digital ecosystems

Blockchain, Internet of Things

D.I.Y. biohacking

Artificial tissue, augmented reality

Barely-there immersion

Connected homes, self-repairing tech

Always-on infrastructure      

5G, quantum computing

Gartner, August 2018

Other top-level trends identified by Gartner within the hype cycle included transparent or barely-there immersion spaces, such as smart home technology and self-repairing machines.

The trend of do-it-yourself biohacking, which covers artificial tissue generation and biochips, predicts humanity will soon reach a “transhuman” era.

Augmented reality and other visual immersion technology, such as the virtual reality headsets pioneered by Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung, have reached the very bottom of disillusionment. Meanwhile digital twins – a digital copy of a physical thing that updates in real-time – are the most over-hyped technology of the year.

Flying self-driving cars are on their way, at the very beginning of the cycle.