Researchers compare the economic benefits of brain mapping to the Human Genome Project, which generated $800 billion in economic impact as a result of a $3.8 billion investment, according to the Science Express article.
The genome project, for which Church was a key leader, was another one of the "best ideas" Obama mentioned in his State of the Union. The Human Genome Project started out in 1990 with $30 million in funding a year, and was ramped up to $300 million a year, Church said.
But Church and his colleagues involved in the brain project have a vision that is akin to what happened after that project ended in 2003. Between 2004 and 2011, Church said, there was a "million-fold" reduction in the cost of genome sequencing, and it's still happening.
"Every person who does molecular biology now is a million times more effective because of the cost drop that came after the genome project was over," he said.
Cost reduction of brain mapping is also a big aim of the Brain Activity Map project. As technology gets better, it will also get cheaper, Church said.
"Rather than have some monolithic juggernaut goal, where we're compulsively going to get this neuron and this neuron and this neuron, I think it's more, we want to enable all the creativity, and maybe even jostle the creativity a little bit, because people can dream different dreams," he said.