I was talking with two PhDs (both teach IT related subjects) about artificial intelligence the other day. They were in agreement that an AI can never reach the level of the human brain, but failed to give me an explanation as to why that is so.

As far as I know, we simply don't know. We don't understand how the human brain works, but we also don't know any function that humans can calculate which is not Turing complete. On the contrary the Turing-Church hypotheses assumes that what humans "intuitively" can do is equal to computers. But only because there is no proof for it, it does not mean that the opposite is true.

My current understanding is that for an AI to reach human level intelligence is merely a matter of algorithms and computing power.

So have proofs been made that support the statement "Artificial intelligences can never reach the level of a human brain."?

  • $\begingroup$ Why the downvotes? $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ The downvotes? Do you know On the Impossibility of Supersized Machines by Ben Garfinkel, Miles Brundage, Daniel Filan, Carrick Flynn, Jelena Luketina, Michael Page, Anders Sandberg, Andrew Snyder-Beattie, Max Tegmark? Guess what they are trying to say! $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how this answers anything and I don't get the joke either. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @problemofficer: your question is too vague and too broad and is out of the scope of this site which is focused on research-level questions on TCS (see the FAQ). Furthermore you ask for a "proof" ... but the statement is far from being "formal" (or formalizable). Perhaps "Evidences" would be a more suitable term. And even the term "reach" implies some sort of "measure", but what is the measure you have in mind? ("AI" is already more powerful than human brain for performing some tasks ... e.g. multiplications or chess :-). $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2018 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ ... I think that cs.stackexchange.com is best suited for questions like this; but I suspect that it is still too vague/broad/unformal even for its scope. $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2018 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I suppose the scientific consensus is that while we are very far from there, in principle a digital artificial intelligence could mimic a human intelligence.

For some recent work on the Church-Turing thesis and the relation between physical computation and digital computation by Turing machines, see:

Space Bounded Church-Turing thesis and computational tractability of closed systems. M. Braverman, J. Scheiner, C. Rojas. Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 098701. 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26371687


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