Keep your brain on its toes

A Google employee was bored with how great his life was (poor thing!) so he stared leaving lot of decisions to chance. His life suddenly got even better. Woo hoo!

There is a theory that the brain is a machine for reducing predictive uncertainty. Errors in predictions of our stream of sensory inputs drive action to reduce them, feeding back and creating all of our thoughts and behaviours.

Hunger is a feeling brought about by the prediction that we are about to eat. Eating food is the action that reduces that predictive error.

Philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark is its biggest proponent of what he calls ‘predictive processing’. In this essay he tell a story about how increasing short term uncertainty can help reduce long term uncertainty by moving you out of local minima.

This essay gets a bit technical toward the end, bit its worth reading as an account of the different types of uncertainty and their role in our lives.

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