Author Topic: Karl Friston’s free energy principle  (Read 384 times)

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Offline Mr. Beagle

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Karl Friston’s free energy principle
« on: November 18, 2018, 02:47:54 PM »
A fascinating article about both this concept and the man himself from Wired magazine:

The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI

Note that "free energy" here is not used the way we have often seen it on this site. Instead, this is Friston's description of how all life itself works:

“If you are alive,” he sets out to answer, “what sorts of behaviors must you show?”...Friston’s free energy principle says that all life, at every scale of organization—from single cells to the human brain, with its billions of neurons—is driven by the same universal imperative, which can be reduced to a mathematical function. To be alive, he says, is to act in ways that reduce the gulf between your expectations and your sensory inputs. Or, in Fristonian terms, it is to minimize free energy...Or, to put it another way, when you are minimizing free energy, you are minimizing surprise.

There are shades of Daniel Dennett in this description of brain function:

Over time, Hinton convinced Friston that the best way to think of the brain was as a Bayesian probability machine. The idea, which goes back to the 19th century and the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, is that brains compute and perceive in a probabilistic manner, constantly making predictions and adjusting beliefs based on what the senses contribute. According to the most popular modern Bayesian account, the brain is an “inference engine” that seeks to minimize “prediction error.”

I love this description of Friston, and have a lot of empathy for the man:

His greeting to the group is liable to be his first substantial utterance of the day, as Friston prefers not to speak with other human beings before noon. (At home, he will have conversed with his wife and three sons via an agreed-upon series of smiles and grunts.)
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 02:51:28 PM by Mr. Beagle »
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Karl Friston’s free energy principle
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2018, 02:09:55 PM »
The concept seems simple enough. The math, though? Yikes.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't