His free energy principle at first glance makes sense: Takes advantage of life as a homeostasis machine so if you stay balanced, not too many surprises with your expectations, you theoretically are getting all that thinking power for free.
That’s my first impression. I think it’s fascinating.
But… I think it’s incorrect. We’re not self-contained thermodynamic machines. But – I’ll see what he has to say about embodied cognition. That will get me a feel for his thinking processes better.
I’m not a big fan of computational models of mind but attempting to formalize embodied cognition by utilizing active inference as a substitute for the looping of environment / nervous system / social systems / genetics / memories is impressive.
Damn good writer but this is apparently his student? But I’m liking the humor. This is affordances – but I’ve never heard it referred to as “the overall generative model defined by my Markov blanket”. That’s hysterically funny to me in a “lol never thought of it but it’s not wrong”
“Heuristically, this means that I will behave in ways consistent with my survival—which is itself consistent with or constrained by the type of body that I have, the econiche within which I have co-evolved, etc. If I am a cave bat, I will hang around in dark caves. If I am a human being, I will seek out other human beings and read articles on philosophy. The body itself is thus a prior boundary condition, or a conditioning factor, in the overall generative model defined by my Markov blanket. My body directly shapes my possibilities for (active) inference. The body-brain system has evolved to constitute a generative model, which specifies the types of behaviours, and environments in which I am likely to engage.”
Ah! The hidden states are EXTERNAL not internal. What a flip! (Bruineberg and Rietveld 2014) is my next search.
“In short, the Markov blanket does not provide a cover from which to hide from external states in a radically sceptical fashion. On the other hand, the Markov blanket does not admit a radically realist position; in the sense a living system can never know what is ‘out there’—it can only infer, with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, the causes of sensory impressions on the blanket. Perhaps it is best to construe Markov blankets as ‘gluing’ the brain to its body and the body to its econiche; however, by definition, this glue never comes with ‘phenomenologically transparent’ on the tin. This is not to say that the Markov blanket precludes direct perception in the sense of delivering an ‘optimal grip’ on the affordances offered by inferred external (hidden) states (Bruineberg and Rietveld 2014). In active inference, everything is in the service of predicting action, no matter how deep the hierarchical processing.”
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00599/full Has to be this. And there’s my affordances I was looking for. Can’t wait to see what they have to say.
Good intro, Jelle Bruinebergand Erik Rietveld. Hope they wow me.
“In this paper, we set out to develop a theoretical and conceptual framework for the new field of Radical Embodied Cognitive Neuroscience. This framework should be able to integrate insights from several relevant disciplines: theory on embodied cognition, ecological psychology, phenomenology, dynamical systems theory, and neurodynamics. “
AH YES, these are people right up my alley. At first glance (which was, 20 minutes ago?) , I found Friston’s conjecture as a bit too far — realm of religion — but fascinating still.
These folks are taking a conservative approach, only using a snippet of Friston’s Free Energy. Looking forward to seeing what they do with it.
“Second, we use Friston’s work on neurodynamics, but embed a very minimal version of his Free Energy Principle in the ecological niche of the animal. Thus amended, this principle is
helpful for understanding the embeddedness of neurodynamics within the dynamics of the system “brain-body-landscape of affordances.” “