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Scientists Create a ''Schizophrenic'' Computer

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

Fake brains used to study real brains.

Despite all the major advancements in our information age, the world's most complex supercomputer is still the human brain. We may not have tri-gate 3D transistors or the ability to parse information like Watson, but our brains work in ways that computers simply can't. Of course, that could just be because science isn't there yet.

Scientists are making a headway though, as researchers at Yale and the University of Texas are afflicting computers with symptoms of schizophrenia in an effort to better the understanding of the human mind.

One theory about schizophrenia is that the brain loses the ability to forget or ignore information that's largely irrelevant. Without this filter, the brain is unable to extract meaningfulness out of experiences. Scientists are using this hypothesis in its computer model called DISCERN which could mimic schizophrenia.

"The hypothesis is that dopamine encodes the importance-the salience-of experience," says Uli Grasemann, a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin. "When there's too much dopamine, it leads to exaggerated salience, and the brain ends up learning from things that it shouldn't be learning from."

"It's an important mechanism to be able to ignore things," says Grasemann. "What we found is that if you crank up the learning rate in DISCERN high enough, it produces language abnormalities that suggest schizophrenia."

"Information processing in neural networks tends to be like information processing in the human brain in many ways," says Grasemann. "So the hope was that it would also break down in similar ways. And it did."

Their results were published in April in Biological Psychiatry. Read more from UTexas.

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  • -1 Hide
    buzznut , May 15, 2011 4:48 PM
    Oh great, just watched Virtuosity last night. Sounds like an incredibly bad idea..
  • -2 Hide
    eagles453809 , May 15, 2011 5:20 PM
    um...this is old news...read this like two weeks ago. step it up toms im tired of reading fox news style bs and articles copied/paste from other tech news sites.
  • 0 Hide
    wishmaster12 , May 15, 2011 5:22 PM
    Maybe this computer should take its pills
  • 1 Hide
    TheWhiteRose000 , May 15, 2011 5:27 PM
    Portal 2 moment.
    "The Greatest Scientists in the world came together to create the worlds dumbest computer."

  • 1 Hide
    the_krasno , May 15, 2011 5:35 PM
    TheWhiteRose000Portal 2 moment."The Greatest Scientists in the world came together to create the worlds dumbest computer."


    Or in this case, craziest computer.
  • 1 Hide
    DXRick , May 15, 2011 5:45 PM
    This is your computer on drugs?
  • 1 Hide
    nexus9113 , May 15, 2011 5:59 PM
    So Skynet is going to command all machines to enslave and destroy humanity... because the leprechaun in the deep end of the sandbox told it to...
  • -1 Hide
    PudgyChicken , May 15, 2011 6:17 PM
    Two week old news. Seriously, what the hell.
  • 0 Hide
    liveonc , May 15, 2011 6:27 PM
    They can't even make Skynet & why didn't "Watson" make Google go bankrupt? But now they want to make crazy Skynet, instead of just giving the Governator some of that Seroquel that caused Britney to shave her head...
  • 1 Hide
    digitalrazoe , May 15, 2011 6:46 PM
    What's next? Bipolar chips ?
  • 0 Hide
    wishmaster12 , May 15, 2011 7:14 PM
    Maybe we should build this computer a hospital
  • -3 Hide
    serkol , May 15, 2011 7:48 PM
    ''Schizophrenic'' Computer = Windows with always-on antivirus. I realized this after switching to a Mac :-)
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , May 15, 2011 8:08 PM
    I have schizophrenia, maybe I should patent my brain lol.
  • -1 Hide
    sseyler , May 15, 2011 8:09 PM
    otacon72Yet you took the time to post a useless comment about it. Some of us don't have time to browse through 100's of websites every day.


    I don't browse through "100's of websites every day", yet I came across this article weeks ago (from somewhere). It's pretty funny how often Tom's Hardware is behind the times.
  • 1 Hide
    reggieray , May 15, 2011 8:49 PM
    I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
  • 7 Hide
    house70 , May 15, 2011 9:08 PM
    serkol''Schizophrenic'' Computer = Windows with always-on antivirus. I realized this after switching to a Mac :-)

    Well, now you have an impotent computer. Well done!
  • 2 Hide
    house70 , May 15, 2011 9:10 PM
    TheWhiteRose000Portal 2 moment."The Greatest Scientists in the world came together to create the worlds dumbest computer."

    Sorry, but schizophrenia is not mental retardation, nor stupidity. Bad analogy.
  • 1 Hide
    bit_user , May 15, 2011 9:17 PM
    Repost. The headline is still misleading.

    What they actually did was build a computer model that's loosely inspired by a human brain, then were able to observe similar symptoms after changing factors thought to cause the disorder in actual brains.

    This is an interesting story, but it's mostly a story about computer modeling and not really about AI.

    Sorry guys, but your comments about Skynet and HAL are way off base.
  • 0 Hide
    FloKid , May 15, 2011 9:57 PM
    No no you guys got it all wrong. NOW you have a computer which you can actually learn from.
  • 1 Hide
    enforcer22 , May 15, 2011 11:16 PM
    sseylerI don't browse through "100's of websites every day", yet I came across this article weeks ago (from somewhere). It's pretty funny how often Tom's Hardware is behind the times.


    Its pretty funny how idiots like you post usless crap like this on a post to get attention. Also how for some reason you missed this being posted on toms a week ago. This is the second time i seen this posted here. Why not say something else moronic like does it play crysis ffs.
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