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Scientists Create a ''Schizophrenic'' Computer

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.

Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • buzznut
    Oh great, just watched Virtuosity last night. Sounds like an incredibly bad idea..
    Reply
  • eagles453809
    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.
    Reply
  • wishmaster12
    Maybe this computer should take its pills
    Reply
  • TheWhiteRose000
    Portal 2 moment.
    "The Greatest Scientists in the world came together to create the worlds dumbest computer."

    Reply
  • the_krasno
    TheWhiteRose000Portal 2 moment."The Greatest Scientists in the world came together to create the worlds dumbest computer."
    Or in this case, craziest computer.
    Reply
  • DXRick
    This is your computer on drugs?
    Reply
  • nexus9113
    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...
    Reply
  • PudgyChicken
    Two week old news. Seriously, what the hell.
    Reply
  • liveonc
    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...
    Reply
  • digitalrazoe
    What's next? Bipolar chips ?
    Reply