The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality
November 23, 2023 5:30 AM - Subscribe

"There is a fundamental drive, instantiated by the brain, to minimize errors in our own sensory predictions." Andy Clark on how brains work, via predictive processing.

Just to fill out the quote so you can see where he's going: "That same drive guides, and is guided by, our own internal bodily states and by a rich array of physical actions, many of them designed to gather information and reduce uncertainty. Brain structure and neurochemistry, the physiological body, our own actions, history, and practices, and the environmental settings in which we live and work, all combine and cooperate to manage the flow of prediction. Thus understood, human minds are not elusive, ghostly inner things. They are seething, swirling oceans of prediction, continuously orchestrated by brain, body, and world.
posted by mittens (1 comment total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I thought this might be the last book in my impromptu dive into consciousness but Clark did mention one more book, so I'll take a look at that next. After reading Anil Seth's book, I came away wanting to better understand the predictive processing folks--what exactly were they talking about? Clark is fortunately very clear and very engaging. This book talks a lot about health--physical and mental--and how the brain's tendency to predict and interpret things badly can cause an array of symptoms. And while it all fits a little too neatly in the box (anxiety as the brain reacting to its own misunderstanding of its heartrate), it's still extremely thought-provoking. (Well, up until the extended mind your smartphone part of your mind?)
posted by mittens at 5:34 AM on November 23, 2023 [1 favorite]

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