PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group
Speaker: Andy Clark (University of Sussex)
Title: Hacking the Predictive Brain
Abstract: Suppose that human brains are organs of embodied (active) prediction. How should we think about ‘higher cognition’ and its manifestations in art, science, technology, and culture? I’ll briefly explore three ideas. First, the drive to use perception and action to minimize long-term average prediction error (active inference) effectively merges epistemic and pragmatic concerns. Second, in advanced agents this fundamental merging of concerns slowly synergizes with the use of language, sketches, diagrams, and ‘material symbols’. Third, these new tricks open up whole new realms as advanced agents learn ways to make visible, refine, and challenge, their own generative models and predictions. They do this by turning them into concrete public objects apt for sharing, stress-testing, and ‘productive breaking’. In this way, art, science, and culture may emerge as key tools for hacking our own predictive minds – neat tricks that bootstrap the reach of the predictive brain.
We are a group of researchers from diverse backgrounds in the above-mentioned groups (and beyond) who aim to gain an interdisciplinary yet deep understanding of the threads that bind the human mind and the world. In particular, this seminar series focuses on the nature of cognition, metacognition and social cognition. We’ll be tackling questions such as, what does it mean to think? What does it mean to think about thinking? And, what does it mean to think about one’s own thinking versus thinking about the thinking of other people? Please come along!
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