For instance, Koene says that by looking at lab results in the past five years or so and assessing the tools in use now, researchers can get a fairly accurate picture of where they'll be in another five years. If you take those assumptions, in turn, and project out computing power in five years, you can even make some good guesses out to about ten years. But after that, things get complicated.
"There's a span of time where I can look at the technology, and look at what the labs are interested in doing, and make some serious predictions," Koene said. "But beyond that, it becomes less of a scientific and technological question and more of a political and economic one."
Koene says that in the field of Whole Brain Emulation, a radical scale-up of resources will eventually be required to make the jump from mapping mouse brains, say, to mapping human brains. In the best-case-scenario, it becomes a competition, like the Space Race.
"With the Apollo project, it was -- how do we get to the moon as fast as possible? Everyone pours in resources, and it happens pretty fast. But maybe in ten years, (WBE research) is not a top priority, depending on what the circumstances are in 2025. So it's very hard to make predictions that far out, because it's not a matter of technological milestones, it's a matter of political and economic will."