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Schizophrenic computer may help us understand similarly afflicted humans

Sean Buckley, @seaniccus
May 11, 2011
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Although we usually prefer our computers to be perfect, logical, and psychologically fit, sometimes there's more to be learned from a schizophrenic one. A University of Texas experiment has doomed a computer with dementia praecox, saddling the silicon soul with symptoms that normally only afflict humans. By telling the machine's neural network to treat everything it learned as extremely important, the team hopes to aid clinical research in understanding the schizophrenic brain -- following a popular theory that suggests afflicted patients lose the ability to forget or ignore frivolous information, causing them to make illogical connections and paranoid jumps in reason. Sure enough, the machine lost it, and started spinning wild, delusional stories, eventually claiming responsibility for a terrorist attack. Yikes. We aren't hastening the robot apocalypse if we're programming machines to go mad intentionally, right?

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