Roy Amara

Roy Amara

Formal First Name
1925 - 2007

Roy Amara was a researcher, scientist, futurist, and president of the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit that pioneered technological and sociological forecasting, where he coined Amara's law on the effect of technology. During his 20+ years as president of the Institute for the Future, he pioneered studies on various sectors, including the earliest systematic discussions of global climate change. He also worked at the Stanford Research Institute, one of the legendary think tanks that rose to prominence after the war, where he directed research programs on interactive computing and decision analysis, among other things. He also met other leaders in this emerging network of thinkers, including Paul Baran, a scientist at the Rand think tank.


  • The Amara hype cycle is unfolding today with respect to machine learning.

  • Humans underestimate the impact of new technology in the long-run, but overestimate them in the short-run.

  • Amara’s Law addresses two phases of the hype cycle in particular over time:

  1. The peak of inflated expectations: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run”, and

  2. the trough of disillusionment: “We tend to … underestimate the effect in the long run”.