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August 24, 2023

GenAI Debuts Atop Gartner’s 2023 Hype Cycle

(Natalya Bardushka/Shutterstock)

Gartner released the 2023 version of its hype curve for emerging technology yesterday, and as expected, generative AI was given the most prominent seat, right at the peak of inflated expectations. But does GenAI have the legs to take itself into the techno promised land?

The wave of GenAI hype triggered by the release of ChatGPT nine months ago has been like nothing the IT world has seen, at least for a while. Many called it AI’s “iPhone moment,” while others compared it to the creation of the Internet itself.

The surge of activity in large language models (LLMs) was unprecedented, as vendors rushed out new chat interfaces for existing products, and new GenAI vendors popped up like mushrooms after a rain. It’s dominated coverage here at Datanami for months.

But in recent weeks, the shine has started to come off the GenAI craze. Notwithstanding LLM’s elevated error rates (hello, hallucinations) questions about the privacy of data used for training, as well as various ethical conundrums, have taken the air of the GenAI hype bubble and dinged the perception of LLMs as inevitable technological progress.

Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that GenAI debuted on Gartner’s much-watched emerging tech report at the peak of the hype cycle: There is nowhere for it to go but down. Such is the case with emerging tech, which carries great uncertainty and can change in a wink.

Image courtesy Gartner

Instead of putting too much stock in GenAI, Gartner analysts focused more time and ink on GenAI’s cousins as potential change agents, including emergent AI, AI simulation, causal AI (misspelled as “casual AI,” which sounds a lot cooler), and neuro-symbolic AI. “AI-augmented” (Gartner doesn’t say augmented what) is also a thing, as is generative cybersecurity AI.

“While generative AI has great potential to enable competitive differentiation, several other emerging AI techniques also offer immense potential to enhance digital customer experiences, make better business decisions and distinguish yourself among your competition,” Gartner contributor Lori Perri wrote in the Gartner blog post “What’s New in the 2023 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies,” (Arun Chandrasekaran, a distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner, is the analyst behind the hype curve.)

“An example of emergent AI, generative AI can generate new derived versions of content, strategies, designs and methods by learning from large repositories of original source content,” Perri continued. “It will continue to have profound business impacts, including on content and product development; automation of human work; and in enhancing customer and employee experiences as it reaches mainstream adoption in two to five years.”

Other data and AI-related items of interest for Datanami readers on the 2023 Hype Cycle for Emerging Tech–which looks nothing like the 2022 version (where have you gone, Metaverse?)–include graph data science, federated machine learning, reinforcement learning, homomorphic encryption, and postquantum cryptography.

In addition to emergent AI, another big theme Gartner is tracking is the developer experience, or DevX. Technologies to watch in this bucket include AI-augmented software engineering, API-centric SaaS, GitOps, internal developer portals, and open-source program office. Value stream management platform (VSMP) are things that bring all the DevX capabilites together.

The “pervasive cloud” is Gartner’s third big theme; Gartner sees the technologies in this category–things like augmented FinOps, cloud development environments (CDEs), cloud-native stuff, cloud-out to edge, cloud sustainability, and WebAssembly (Wasm)–taking five to 10 years to mature.

Theme four is “human-centric security and privacy,” and this one has ties back to GenAI and the whole discussion around data and AI privacy and ethics. Gartner sees tech like cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA), generative cybersecurity AI, homomorphic encryption, and postquantum cryptography helping to drive the ball forward for security and privacy over the next two to five years.

Gartner’s emerging tech hype curve changes more often than it used to (where art thou, smart dust?) but that’s likely a function of the pace of technological change. When the 2024 version comes out next August, people may need a refresher on what this whole “GenAI” thing was all about.

Gartner will be hosting a webinar on the new hype curve for emerging tech on September 18 at 7 a.m. PT. You can register for it here.

Related Items:

Data Observability, Metaverse Land on Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Tech (2022)

Gartner Shuffles the Technology Deck with Latest ‘Hype Cycle’ Report (2021)

Gartner Gets Hyped for Emerging Tech (2020)