The difficult legacy of Turing’s wager

18 Aug 2017

Describing the human brain in mathematical terms is an important ambition of neuroscience research, yet the challenges remain considerable. It was Alan Turing, writing in 1950, who first sought to demonstrate how time-consuming such an undertaking would be. Through analogy to the computer program, Turing argued that arriving at a complete mathematical description of the mind would take well over a thousand years. In this opinion piece, we argue that — despite seventy years of progress in the field — his arguments remain both prescient and persuasive.