Active Inference: Applicability to Different Types of Social Organization Explained through Reference to Industrial Engineering and Quality Management

Stephen Fox (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Active inference is a physics of life process theory of perception, action and learning that is applicable to natural and artificial agents. In this paper, active inference theory is related to different types of practice in social organization. Here, the term social organization is used to clarify that this paper does not encompass organization in biological systems. Rather, the paper addresses active inference in social organization that utilizes industrial engineering, quality management, and artificial intelligence alongside human intelligence. Social organization referred to in this paper can be in private companies, public institutions, other for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, and any combination of them. The relevance of active inference theory is explained in terms of variational free energy, prediction errors, generative models, and Markov blankets. Active inference theory is most relevant to the social organization of work that is highly repetitive. By contrast, there are more challenges involved in applying active inference theory for social organization of less repetitive endeavors such as one-of-a-kind projects. These challenges need to be addressed in order for active inference to provide a unifying framework for different types of social organization employing human and artificial intelligence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number198
JournalEntropy
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • active inference
  • artificial intelligence
  • industrial engineering
  • information-theoretic entropy
  • Markov blankets
  • organization
  • prediction error
  • quality management
  • social
  • statistical process control
  • thermodynamic entropy
  • variational free energy

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