A while back, when I was in industry, I was asked by a senior manager if I’d put my retirement savings into a project I was arguing in favor of. His point was that there seems to be a disconnect between the way scientists often vigorously support the feasibility of something and the actual support they’d express if asked to quantify it in terms of a test like above. This is especially true now that I am an academic and I guiltily wonder about the hype in funding applications. One is constantly bombarded with technologies that are ‘just around the corner’, to be addressed by the next ‘breakthrough project’ (i.e., the present proposal) – would the PI actually put his own money into the project?!
In this context, I quite like this wager: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/why-im-wagering-100000-on-quantum-computing/.
On a related but different note, shouldn’t someone be proposing something similar for AI – ask people to provide the impossibility proof instead of deriding people who make attempts to provide positive answers?!