Curious Inferences: Reply to Sun & Firestone on the Dark Room Problem

Response in Trends in Cognitive Science, 2020

Anil K. Seth, Beren Millidge, Christopher L Buckley, Alexander Tschantz


This short letter is a response to a recent Forum article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, by Sun and Firestone, which reprises the so-called ‘Dark Room Problem’ as a challenge to the explanatory value of predictive processing and free-energy-minimisation frameworks for cognitive science. Among many possible responses to Sun and Firestone, we explain how minimisation of prediction error in the long term (expected free energy) naturally prescribes the sort of epistemic, curious actions that lead to escaping from dark rooms.