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Stochastic Chaos and Markov Blankets

Friston, K; Heins, C; Ueltzhoffer, K; Da Costa, L; Parr, T; (2021) Stochastic Chaos and Markov Blankets. Entropy , 23 (9) , Article 1220. 10.3390/e23091220. Green open access

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Abstract

In this treatment of random dynamical systems, we consider the existence—and identification—of conditional independencies at nonequilibrium steady-state. These independencies underwrite a particular partition of states, in which internal states are statistically secluded from external states by blanket states. The existence of such partitions has interesting implications for the information geometry of internal states. In brief, this geometry can be read as a physics of sentience, where internal states look as if they are inferring external states. However, the existence of such partitions—and the functional form of the underlying densities—have yet to be established. Here, using the Lorenz system as the basis of stochastic chaos, we leverage the Helmholtz decomposition—and polynomial expansions—to parameterise the steady-state density in terms of surprisal or self-information. We then show how Markov blankets can be identified—using the accompanying Hessian—to characterise the coupling between internal and external states in terms of a generalised synchrony or synchronisation of chaos. We conclude by suggesting that this kind of synchronisation may provide a mathematical basis for an elemental form of (autonomous or active) sentience in biology.

Type: Article
Title: Stochastic Chaos and Markov Blankets
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/e23091220
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/e23091220
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Keywords: thermodynamics; information geometry; variational inference; Bayesian; Markov blanket
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135151
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