Karl Friston’s free energy principle might be the most all-encompassing idea since Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. But to understand it, you need to peer inside the mind of Friston himself. wired
The free energy principle explains how biological systems maintain their order by restricting themselves to a limited number of states which entail beliefs about hidden states in their environment. Originally introduced by Karl Friston as an explanation for embodied perception in neuroscience, where it is also known as active inference. wikipedia
The objective is to maximise model evidence or minimise surprise. This generally involves an intractable marginalisation over hidden states, so surprise is replaced with an upper variational free energy bound. However, this means that internal states must also minimise free energy, because free energy is a function of sensory and internal states.
These inference systems are Bayesian networks of Markov Blankets.
We ponder this principle in the context of Understanding Complexity.
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Eric Dobbs Stafford Beer's Viable System Model: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viable_system_model. We speculate there's a lot in common between this schematic and the Markov Blankets & Free Energy Principle.