Humans are Turing complete

March 19, 2021
Any task we can automate can be performed by a human. This is probably pretty obvious, but has some interesting implications.

I want to propose an idea that’s so obvious that I think almost everyone misses its implications:

Humans are Turing-complete

What is Turing-complete?

The concept, derived from the conceptual Turing machine, as described by Wikipedia:

[A] system of data-manipulation rules is said to be Turing-complete or computationally universal if it can be used to simulate any Turing machine.

We use this concept when describing programming languages, as a sort of litmus test for their completeness. Somewhat famously, CSS is Turing-complete, which I guess angers some people, but I digress…

The point I want to make about humans being Turing complete is this:

Any task we can automate can be performed by a human (albeit, generally more slowly). This is probably pretty obvious, but has some interesting implications, like the idea that we can do Continuous Deployment without any automated tests.

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