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Roy Charles Amara (7 April 1925[1] – 31 December 2007[2]) was an American researcher, scientist, futurist[3] and president of the Institute for the Future best known for coining Amara's law on the effect of technology. He held a BS in Management, an MS in the Arts and Sciences, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering,[4] and also worked at the Stanford Research Institute.

Roy Amara
Born Roy Charles Amara
(1925-04-07)7 April 1925
Died 31 December 2007(2007-12-31) (aged 82)


Amara's lawEdit

His adage about forecasting the effects of technology has become known as Amara's law and states:

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.[5][6][7]

This law has been described as encouraging people to think about the long-term effects of technology,[8] and has been described as best illustrated by the hype cycle,[9] characterized by the "peak of inflated expectations" followed by the "trough of disillusionment".[10] The law has been used in explaining cyber-attacks[11] and nanotechnology.[12]

Selected bibliographyEdit


  • Amara, Roy; Boucher, Wayne I. (1977). National Science Foundation, ed. The study of the future: an agenda for research. Washington, D.C.: General Post Office. OCLC 3200105.
  • Amara, Roy; Lipinski, Andrew J. (1983). Business planning for an uncertain future: scenarios & strategies. New York: Pergamon Press. ISBN 9780080275451.
  • Amara, Roy; Morrison, J. Ian; Schmid, Gregory (1988). Looking ahead at American health care. Washington, D.C.: McGraw-Hill, Healthcare Information Center. ISBN 9780070013841.
  • Amara, Roy; Institute for the future (2003). Health and health care 2010: the forecast, the challenge (2nd ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470932513.



  1. ^ "Amara, Roy". Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 February 2015. data sheet (Amara, Roy Charles, b. 4/7/25)
  2. ^ Pescovitz, David (3 January 2008). "Roy Amara, forecaster, RIP". BoingBoing. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  3. ^ Four Geeky Laws That Rule Our World
  4. ^ "Roy Amara (biography)". University of Arizona: Anticipating the future (course), Futures Thinkers. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  5. ^ Susan Ratcliffe, ed. (2016). "Roy Amara 1925–2007, American futurologist". Oxford Essential Quotations (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ "Encyclopedia: Definition of: Amara's law". PC Magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  7. ^ Doc Searls (2012). The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge. Harvard Business Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-4221-5852-4.
  8. ^ 10 laws of tech: the rules that define our world
  9. ^ Amara's Law
  10. ^ Hyper Cycle for Emerging Technologies
  11. ^ VTech Breach, Amara's Law and Long-term Effects of Cyber Attacks
  12. ^ Context
  13. ^ Roy Amara at DBLP bibliography