August 24, 2022, 01:15pm EDT
There’s no doubt that technology has greatly changed the ways we live and work in recent decades. However, it’s also certain that some “revolutionary” technologies haven’t quite lived up to all the hype. In many cases, it’s not that these technologies haven’t had productive, practical uses, but they may not have had (and may never have) the wide-ranging, world-changing impact predicted by some industry watchers. While it’s smart for businesses and consumers to keep up with the latest tech trends, it’s also wise to be mindful of the limitations of technology. Here, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some tech developments that have been widely touted as “revolutionary” in recent years that they believe may well have been overhyped (at least in their current states), and why.
I believe that 3D printing is probably the most overhyped technology ever. Lots of advocates sold it as a technology that would enable personalization in scale manufacturing. They claimed local production would reverse globalization, and small-to-big manufacturing would save materials. While I believe 3D printing will continue to be a wonderful technology for niche applications, it’s certainly not the core of manufacturing at scale. – Sam Mugel, Multiverse Computing
Aspects of artificial intelligence don’t live up to the hype, because the realities of applying artificial intelligence to nonlinear problems are never as easy as you’d assume. Artificial intelligence absolutely has untapped potential when it comes to helping people work smarter and better, but we are there not yet. It requires a lot more work, research, grit and sweat. – Antti Nivala, M-Files
The concept of “lights off” automation is neither realistic nor necessary. Experts have been discussing how AI can replace humans in fully automated processes for years, causing tech teams to fear for their jobs and relevance. But humans are still necessary for most high-touch, non-routine tasks. Instead of racing toward full automation, businesses should determine which tasks can be automated for the greatest impact. – Phil Tee, Moogsoft
The real value of the metaverse is being drowned out by the hype. Buying artificial real estate for your digital twin? That’s not valuable. Doctors across the world collaboratively training on complex medical procedures so they’re better prepared to treat patients on the operating table or in their clinic? That’s valuable. Even better—it’s already accessible and happening in healthcare today. – Sam Glassenberg, Level Ex
Web3 will greatly impact our world, but there’s a hype cycle that comes with it. While the promise for transformation is significant, the buzz can lead people to believe that innovation will be immediate, but it won’t. Instead, business leaders must follow the value cycle to be on the front foot of competition and break away from the pack when the tech shifts from cutting-edge to mainstream. – Jeff Wong, EY
Cryptocurrencies have been overhyped, both in terms of their use and real-world applications. At their inception, we saw a rally—almost to the point of a frenzy. But since they’re not backed by a definitive rationale and are subject to over-the-top valuations, digital currencies are now seeing a dramatic slump. Technologies that stand the test of time and add real value have thrived; I think it’s doubtful cryptocurrencies will do so. – Deepak Garg, Smart Energy Water
The concept of inviting people with no coding knowledge into low-code/no-code development and asking them to collaborate with technical people is really not working as expected. Requests for customizations keep coming, and “citizen developers” will have to learn some coding to effectively build platforms with low-code/no-code technologies. – Vasudevan Swaminathan, Zuci Systems
DAOs have made headlines as the “internet’s biggest evolution,” taking away decision-making power from corporations and placing it into the hands of regular users. It sounds promising until you get down to the implementation of voting mechanisms. They either take too much time, have leeway for accumulating governance tokens, don’t filter trivial proposals or fail in keeping the members engaged. – Konstantin Klyagin, Redwerk
Blockchain is an innovative technology, but it’s very specific in application. It’s overhyped because it’s expensive to use and incredibly limited in scope. Blockchain may be useful for complex projects, but it’s not effective in day-to-day activities. Simply put, blockchain is not going to revolutionize the world. – Patrick Emmons, DragonSpears, Inc.
Back in 2009, Google thrust the idea of the self-driving car into mainstream media. This year, GM and Ford petitioned the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to deploy autonomous vehicles with no steering wheels or brake pedals. Semi-autonomous driving is here, but widespread adoption of fully autonomous cars remains in the distant future due to regulation, cost and safety challenges. – Kevin Philpott, Pie Insurance
The most overhyped tech development of 2022 is the data mesh. Numerous technologies (virtualization, master data management and others) exist only as a reaction to silos; the idea that a data mesh can optimize data management by promoting silos defies logic. If companies had the data governance maturity to support both centralized and decentralized data management, they would have implemented them decades ago. – Malcolm Hawker, Profisee
We hear so much about the cloud—cloud applications, cloud computing, cloud AAS. But the cloud isn’t the most secure and safe way to go about running a business. It’s like wired over wireless! In my opinion, having your applications on-site and having full control over them (including the ability to upgrade) is still the way to go. The 20% are the loudest, and that’s what is happening with the cloud. – Kevin Huber, IT Outlet