I have the brain of a genius-I keep it in a jar on my desk.
The Tabula rasa or blank state hypothesis is that people are born with no genetic, innate or evolutionary content. Rather they are an empty disc onto which their life is written by experience, learning, example and their environment.
In 1950 the famous code breaker and mathematician Alan Turing came up with the “Turing test” for Artificial intelligence: “a computer could be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing it was human”. BIG BLUE the IBM Computer beat Grand Masters to be a chess champion but it was PARRY that was the most successful. PARRY pretended to be paranoid and was questioned by a group of psychiatrists. The results were revealing: none of the group would believe that they were dealing with a computer even when they were introduced to it. The transcripts were later mixed with genuine paranoid patients’ records and sent to psychiatrists, none of whom could distinguish between the two.
In the 1970’s eight “normal” healthy researchers gained access to American mental hospitals by reporting only one symptom; that “they were hearing voices”. Once in the institutions they behaved entirely normally. Seven were diagnosed as schizophrenic. When they “came clean” and admitted their guise it took almost three weeks to get them released. Sometime later the same researchers told the same institutions that there were other “fake” patients trying to gain access. The result was that 19 genuine patients were suspected of fraud. The conclusion being that it is difficult to distinguish between the sane and insane.
In 2011 in converted car park in Moscow six” astronauts” lived in a small isolation pod finding out what a nine-month journey to Mars would be like. They arrived home in the November having spent more than a year and a half “in space”. All contact with the outside world was by radio and there was a significant delay as the signal moves from the earth to the “car park.” The results will go some way to determining the likely psychological and physical demands of such a journey
So here’s the rub, in 2020 in lock down , when my computer crashes, when my iphone freezes or when I lose the signal between my home desk top and the GoodyBurrett server it could simply be the technology but then again it could be a schizophrenic, a paranoid or even a psychiatrist any of whom could be living in my garage! I am not going crazy!
Bryan C Johnston