The active inference approach to ecological perception: general information dynamics for natural and artificial embodied cognition

Linson, Adam, Clark, Andy, Ramamoorthy, Subramanian and Friston, Karl (2018) The active inference approach to ecological perception: general information dynamics for natural and artificial embodied cognition. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5 (21). pp. 1-22. ISSN 2296-9144

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Abstract

The emerging neurocomputational vision of humans as embodied, ecologically embedded, social agents—who shape and are shaped by their environment—offers a golden opportunity to revisit and revise ideas about the physical and information-theoretic underpinnings of life, mind, and consciousness itself. In particular, the active inference framework (AIF) makes it possible to bridge connections from computational neuroscience and robotics/AI to ecological psychology and phenomenology, revealing common underpinnings and overcoming key limitations. AIF opposes the mechanistic to the reductive, while staying fully grounded in a naturalistic and information-theoretic foundation, using the principle of free energy minimization. The latter provides a theoretical basis for a unified treatment of particles, organisms, and interactive machines, spanning from the inorganic to organic, non-life to life, and natural to artificial agents. We provide a brief introduction to AIF, then explore its implications for evolutionary theory, ecological psychology, embodied phenomenology, and robotics/AI research. We conclude the paper by considering implications for machine consciousness.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Depositing User: Paige Thompson
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 15:52
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 18:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/82324

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