21 March 2017, Busting Out: Two Takes on the Predictive Brain, Andy Clark
Recent work in computational and cognitive neuroscience depicts the brain as an ever-active prediction machine. In this talk, I contrast two ways of understanding the implied vision of mind. One way (Conservative Predictive Processing) depicts the predictive brain as an insulated inner arena populated by representations so rich and reconstructive as to enable the organism to ‘throw away the world’. The other (Radical Predictive Processing) stresses processes of circular causal influence linking brain, body, and world. Such processes can deliver fast and frugal, action-involving solutions of the kind often highlighted by work in robotics and embodied cognition, nesting them within a structured, uncertainty-modulated, knowledge-base that remains firmly rooted in sensory experience. This delivers a broader, profoundly embodied, and more ‘cybernetic’ vision of predictive processing. But it raises deep and important questions concerning how best to understand the core notions of prediction and prediction error minimization themselves.