Gartner Hype Cycle places increased business importance on human and machine interaction

Gartner has released its newest edition of the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies as it identifies the escalating importance of the link between humans and machines.

The study, which has been released on an annual basis since 1995, showed there are three major trends in the technology sector and that the “overriding” one is “the evolving relationship between humans and machines”, according to Jackie Fenn, vice president and fellow at Gartner.

“In fact, by observing how emerging technologies are being used by early adopters, there are actually three main trends at work. These are augmenting humans with technology — for example, an employee with a wearable computing device; machines replacing humans — for example, a cognitive virtual assistant acting as an automated customer representative; and humans and machines working alongside each other — for example, a mobile robot working with a warehouse employee to move many boxes,” commented Fenn.

The firm believes the major reason for these trends is the advancement in machines and Fenn’s fellow researcher Hung LeHong added “machines and humans are getting smarter by working together”.

The first of the main trends is “Augmenting humans with technology” which gives businesses the chance to improve the performance of employees by providing them with augmentation devices such as wearable computers.

"Organizations interested in these technologies should look to bioacoustic sensing, quantified self, 3D bioprinting, brain-computer interface, human augmentation, speech-to-speech translation, neurobusiness, wearable user interfaces, augmented reality and gesture control,” Gartner added.

Second of the trends identified by Gartner are “Machines replacing humans”, with Gartner advising that “organizations should look to some of these representative technologies for sources of innovation on how machines can take over human tasks”.

Lastly they picked out “Humans and machines working alongside each other” with the research stating the best part about this was the fact that companies get the “best of both worlds”.

Gartner’s hype cycle also identifies individual technologies and the various stages they are at on their cycle. It starts with an “Innovation Trigger” followed by a “Peak of Inflated Expectation”, “Trough of Disillusionment”, “Slope of Enlightenment” before lastly a “Plateau of Productivity”.

One of the more significant stages is the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” which is where you’ll currently find consumer 3D printing, Big Data, gamification, wearable user interfaces, complex-event processing, and content analytics.

Image Credit: Flickr (Mike Shaheen)