What do predictive coders want?

Colin Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The so-called “dark room problem” makes vivd the challenges that purely predictive models face in accounting for motivation. I argue that the problem is a serious one. Proposals for solving the dark room problem via predictive coding architectures are either empirically inadequate or computationally intractable. The Free Energy principle might avoid the problem, but only at the cost of setting itself up as a highly idealized model, which is then literally false to the world. I draw at least one optimistic conclusion, however. Real-world, real-time systems may embody motivational states in a variety of ways consistent with idealized principles like FEP, including ways that are intuitively embodied and extended. This may allow predictive coding theorists to reconcile their account with embodied principles, even if it ultimately undermines loftier ambitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2541–2557
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Explanation
  • Extended mind
  • Free energy principle
  • Good regulator theorem
  • Homeostasis
  • Predictive coding


Dive into the research topics of 'What do predictive coders want?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this