Article

The Active Inference Approach to Ecological Perception: General Inforation Dynamics for Natural and Artifical Embodied Cognition

Citation

Linson A, Clark A, Ramamoorthy S & Friston K (2018) The Active Inference Approach to Ecological Perception: General Inforation Dynamics for Natural and Artifical Embodied Cognition. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5, Art. No.: 21. https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00021

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.

Keywords
free energy; uncertainty; self-organization; embodiment; evolution; affordances; skilled expertise; frame problem

Journal
Frontiers in Robotics and AI: Volume 5

StatusPublished
Publication date31/03/2018
Publication date online31/03/2018
Date accepted by journal16/02/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/26875
PublisherFrontiers Media