Research firm Gartner has released its 2018 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, which found technologies like artificial intelligence platform as a service, blockchain for data security, and quantum computing reaching the peak of inflated expectations, while technologies such as mixed reality and blockchain were on the downswing of excitement.

Gartner’s hype cycles detail how emerging technologies hit what the firm calls an “innovation trigger” and reach a “peak of inflated expectations,” before falling into a “trough of disillsionment” on the way to the “slope of enlightenment” and the “plateau of productivity.”  The report says it “aim(s) to give you a deeper understanding of those individual technologies and their stage of development so you can effectively plan your innovation strategy for the year ahead.”

For 2018, the report added 17 new technologies that fit into the five categories of democratized AI, digitalized ecosystems, do-it-yourself biohacking, transparently immersive experiences, and ubiquitous infrastructure. Blockchain, conversational AI platforms, and edge AI were among the new additions, while other technologies, like virtual reality, that appeared in the 2017 version of the report left Gartner’s hype cycle.

How will these categories evolve? Gartner expects democratized AI to elevate to the next level when it reaches the general public and creates a community of creators. “For example, smart robots capable of working alongside humans, delivering room service or working in warehouses, will allow organizations to assist, replace or redeploy human workers to more value-adding tasks,” the company said in a blog post.

The move to digitalized ecosystems category involves emerging technologies like blockchain and digital twins. “The shift from compartmentalized technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundation for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology,” says Mike Walker, research vice president at Gartner.

The shift in how people think about infrastructure is also a factor in how we view emerging technologies. “In general, infrastructure is no longer the key to strategic business goals. The appearance and growing popularity of cloud computing and the always-on, always-available, limitless infrastructure environment have changed the infrastructure landscape,” Gartner said.

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