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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 statement, paraphrased by Robert X. Cringely, is a computing adage which 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]

This law has been described as encouraging people to think about the long-term effects of technology,[7] and has been described as best illustrated by the hype cycle,[8] characterized by the "peak of inflated expectations" followed by the "trough of disillusionment".[9] The law has been used in explaining cyber-attacks[10] and nanotechnology.[11]

Selected bibliographyEdit




  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. ^ "Encyclopedia: Definition of: Amara's law". PC Magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  6. ^ SMART Letter #63 Amara's Law
  7. ^ 10 laws of tech: the rules that define our world
  8. ^ Amara's Law
  9. ^ Hyper Cycle for Emerging Technologies
  10. ^ VTech Breach, Amara's Law and Long-term Effects of Cyber Attacks
  11. ^ Context
  12. ^ Roy Amara at DBLP bibliography