Geoffrey Hinton is one of the creators of Deep Learning, a 2019 winner of the Turing Award, and an engineering fellow at Google. Last week, at the company’s I/O developer conference, we discussed his early fascination with the brain, and the possibility that computers could be modeled after its neural structure—an idea others long dismissed by other scholars as foolhardy. We also discussed consciousness, his future plans, and whether computers should be taught to dream. The conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Nicholas Thompson: Let’s start when you write some of your early, very influential papers. Everybody says, “This is a smart idea, but we’re not actually going to be able to design computers this way.” Explain why you persisted and why you were so confident that you had found something important. READ MORE ON: WIRED