First they give computers a sense of humor – something that is totally cool, I think. Now they give them a mental disorder, specifically schizophrenia. We sometimes use the word loosely to make fun of people close to us who may exhibit erratic behavior, but schizophrenia is nothing to joke about. Especially when it comes to computers who might one day take over the human race.
All joking aside, researchers have turned to computers to try to gain more insight into the mind of a schizophrenic human. Some researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Yale University have set up a neural network model ((Via: LabSpaces)) to represent the brain and tweaked things so that it simulated conditions wherein excessive levels of dopamine are present. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is present in large amounts in the brain of a schizophrenic.
So what did they find out? The neural network model showed that what the dopamine does is to mess with the brain’s ability to remember and forget things. So being schizophrenic is all about not being able to properly forget or ignore things. The result is that people who suffer from schizophrenia make connections that are not present or not real, hence the hallucinations and paranoia.
On the technical side, the creation of this neural network model is a big feat, which can make way for more studies in the future. However, my worrywart nature cannot help but assert itself. What if this computer schizophrenic state becomes the ground for “complications” in human-computer interaction in the future? Call me paranoid, but once artificial intelligence becomes full-blown, you never know. 😉
Image via Chris Devers