Hype and absurdity go together.
As excitement about the next big thing builds, people fall over themselves to get on board.
A year and a half ago, the metaverse was the future.
Companies appointed chief metaverse officers, and futurologists burbled about web 3.0.
The idea has not gone away.
Colombia held its first court case in the metaverse last month (imagine a video game called Wii Justice and you get the picture).
But the excitement has evaporated, at least for now.
Microsoft disbanded its industrial metaverse team last month;
the career prospects of chief metaverse officers are more virtual than even they would like.
Other technologies have suffered the same reversal.
There was a point when it was deeply fashionable to rave about the blockchain, crypto and non-fungible tokens.
Now the attention of users, investors and managers is firmly fixed on artificial intelligence (ai).
Since Chatgpt, an ai chatbot, was made available to the public at the end of November, it has generated another wave of hype.
Over 100m people have asked it to rewrite ikea furniture instructions in iambic pentameter or something equally vital;
venture-capital funds are pouring money into ai startups;
established firms are rushing to explain how they will use the technology to do everything from customer service to coding.
Hype need not end in disappointment.
Some technologies are less speculative than others; the metaverse is still largely notional, for example, whereas ai is an established field.
Even when bubbles burst, they can leave world-changing companies behind.
The hype cycle, popularised by Gartner, a consultancy, is real.
In essence, it describes a period of uncontrolled enthusiasm for a new idea followed by a backlash.
That makes hype bittersweet for entrepreneurs.
Excitement can help unlock funding and attract users.
Some think of hype as a public good, vital in enabling new technologies to get going.
But it can also lead to problems.
The question is how to manage hype for the best.
go together 一起去 ; 相配
fall over 跌倒
last month 上月(例: He came here last month. 他是上月来这里的)
video game 电子游戏
get the picture 弄明白情况，了解情形
would like 想要