Researchers testing mental illness figured out how to induce schizophrenic symptoms in a computer, causing it to place itself at the center of crazy delusions, such as claiming responsibility for a terrorist bombing. The results bolster a hypothesis that claims faulty information processing can lead to schizophrenic symptoms.
Computer scientists at the University of Texas-Austin built a neural network called DISCERN, which is able to learn natural language. The humans taught it a series of simple stories, teaching it to store information as relationships between words and sentences — much the same way a person would learn a story.
Then they started again, but cranked up DISCERN's rate of learning — so it was assimilating words at a faster rate, and it was not ignoring as much noise in the data.
Some mental health experts believe schizophrenics cannot forget or ignore as much stimuli as they should, which makes it difficult to synthesize and process the correct information. This "hyperlearning" phenomenon causes schizophrenics to lose connections among individual stories, losing the distinction between reality and illusion. Dopamine is a key factor in the process of understanding and differentiating experiences.
Telling the computer to "forget less" was akin to flooding the system with dopamine, confounding its ability to discern relationships between words, sentences and events, according to a news release from UT.
"DISCERN began putting itself at the center of fantastical, delusional stories that incorporated elements from other stories it had been told to recall," according to the news release. In one answer, it claimed responsibility for a terrorist bombing.
The experiment doesn't prove the hyperlearning hypothesis, but it does lend it additional credence, according to the researchers, who published their crazed computer findings in the journal Biological Psychiatry. It also shows that neural networks can be a useful analogue for the information-processing centers of the brain, according to graduate student Uli Grasemann, who participated in the research.
"We have so much more control over neural networks than we could ever have over human subjects," he said. "The hope is that this kind of modeling will help clinical research."
Ridiculous claims you say? Listen to this...
It is proven that Schizophrenia is brought about by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Over correct for this and you cause cause another problem, Parkinson's.
Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers their dreams. The most interesting fact about our dreams is that we can transform ourselves into different things and different people (or at least I can). We can go from walking to flying, from being the neighbors cat to transforming ourselves into a talking tree.
The one point that gets overlooked is the fact that none of it really exist. There is no one else in our dreams but our own minds. Everything is created in our brain and hence we can easily transform ourselves into anything and everything that is there and all it makes perfect sense. All our multiple personalities, all our levels of consciousness are able to interact with each other, seamlessly.
If the only person in your dreams is you and a mirror, then then you can't understand what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, it means you are Schizophrenic, at least in your sleep.
Somehow, this dream state doesn't end for those suffering from the disease. For the rest of us, that voice in our head answers right away with same voice each time. The 'autonomous' us directs the conscious us with a single thought, a single voice.
So unless you have the same dream over and over again and it is only you and a mirror, then you now have an insight and 'my' understand what it means to be Schizophrenic.
How's that for delusional?!
I hope this can have clinical applications....
So we are now teaching computers how to lie...or how to become a psycho. Good that's what we need:-) Fascinating really but makes you wonder if we are worrying too much about biological outbreaks and not enough about technological outbreaks. Create a virus and accidentally let that loose into the Internet which in turn causes the Internet to become "crazy". Great idea for a movie maybe.
I think GLaDOS used this technology in portal.....
"The one point that gets overlooked is the fact that none of it really exists. There is no one else in our dreams but our own minds. Everything is created in our brain and hence we can easily transform ourselves into anything and everything that is there and all it makes perfect sense."
This is also true in what you believe to be reality, which is why it can also be argued to be an illusion. Your sense of reality is created within your brain, despite the perception that it is a cause of external stimuli. Reality might very well be external to you, but it is impossible to determine that due to your whole perception of reality, even the notion of your own brain, coming from within what you believe to be your brain. In essence, it is impossible to prove even your own physical existence.
And since we all believe there to be other people in our reality, maybe we are all just schizophrenic.
I really seriously doubt that this neural network has any major degree of parallels to the human brain -- other than simulating neuron function, and has little in common with the actual human disorder known as schizophrenia.
The method listed on the research results state: "For this study, DISCERN learned sets of autobiographical and impersonal crime stories with associated emotion coding".
Associated emotion coding? That is a bit vague. It would be nice to see the technical specs and requirements that the system was built on. All I see here are abstract specs and requirements.
Good story though PopSci, way to keep an eye out.
@visualize You absolutely hit the nail on the head here. Great post.
That is really scary.
Wait... What if it is responsible for the terrorist attacks?
Dun dun DUN!
@SolomonSinclair, I agree with you. This study is more a way of saying how much can we make randomness look like reality.
@visualize, great follow up. The one thing I (or any of my personalities) can't do while dreaming is feel pain. That's how I know things are real.
cool. i sense singularity.
@All4it Consider yourself lucky, or just unaware. I feel pain in my dreams, as most people do. There is no reason that you shouldn't feel pain in your dreams, as pain is just a brain function. If there can be experiences of pleasure, sexual fantasies, then there can also be experiences of pain, which there are for most people.
This ruins my entire plan to make all computers "mentally" crazy!
----a graduate of Psychology and IT.
Im a schizophrenic !
Hey so am I !!!!
what if the only reason why its so hard to find other living beings in this universe is because the creators of this simulation made it that way. and in the "real" world planets full of life exist on every corner. sort of like that movie the 13th floor were reality is undetectable to the naked eye.
you are all nuts, i should have known every nut case poster on this site would have an undeniable craving to post even crazier stuff, very entertaining, thanks
Every programmer who has worked with neutral networks knows that if you overtrain them they start degrading.
Great,just what we need.An annoying robot that talks to itself.XD
@visualize "There is no reason that you shouldn't feel pain in your dreams, as pain is just a brain function."
Only certain parts of your brain are active during dreams. While I agree it may be possible to feel pain (I know I have felt emotional pain during a bad dream), there is a potential reason why you wouldn't feel real physical pain.
@SolomonSinclair "I really seriously doubt that this neural network has any major degree of parallels to the human brain -- other than simulating neuron function, and has little in common with the actual human disorder known as schizophrenia."
Obviously neural networks are just a model. However, the nodes in these network are actually very complex and can replicate many of the functional aspects of neurons. The network architecture can also be set up to represent the architecture of neurons communicating in the brain. When put together, network behavior emerges that in many cases closely resembles higher brain function. This doesn't prove that schizophrenia is caused by such overlearning, but it definitely lends it credence. Also, what do you mean by technical specs? This is software, not hardware, and surely runs on a computing cluster of some sort.
@All4it You seem to think Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity disorder (multiple personalities) are the same thing. It has nothing to do with a "single voice". Schizophrenics effectively can't tell what is real and not real. And don't give me some abstract crap like @visualize would say about how we don't know if this is reality, it's all in our minds, etc. That is a cop out.
What it comes down to is this interesting neural network model replicated, at least on some level, the cognitive effects of schizophrenia with a simple functional abnormality. Very cool stuff.
Finally, this article describes exactly what I have been saying for years.
So, the next big thing for hackers is to copy the coding and then apply it to either one super computer or a cloud of computers, making them crazy?
What is the potential for a crazy-virus that doesn't necessarily destroy your computer, as much as it just turns it into a raving lunatic?