Predictions versus Observation

Predictions versus Observation


We all know the feeling of walking into new place for the first time, we're excited but also slightly scared. Or the feeling you get when your test score is far worse than you expected, a sadness and/or frustrations. Or how about eating a very tasty pastry that you've never had before, that rush of bliss and pleasure that engulfs you.

What all of these phenomena have in common is that which you expected and that which you experienced, there was a difference which caused a rush of feelings and emotions - This we call prediction versus observation.

What is the primary intent behind making predictions?

As mentioned before, any living organism will try to reduce uncertainty. If you predict an event correctly you can adjust yourself accordingly and have a greater chance to survive the ordeal, if however you are completely wrong it could cause death. 

The way an organism regulates itself is through a process called allostasis, which essentially means 'to keep an internal balance with future events in mind'. Predictions with high probabilities will make you more efficient at negating risks and thus increase survival.

How is a prediction calculated?

Organisms use a mathematical equation called 'the Bayesian Inference' to in order to deduce a likelihood of an event taking place and what the potential gain and loss might be.

It predicts based on priors (what has happened), poster prediction(what do I think is going to happen) and the observation (what has actually happened). The difference between the prediction and the observation is in physiological terms called a somatic error, individuals often experience this through depression and/or anxiety.

What does a somatic error cause?

A somatic error forces the organism to reconfigure its internal state to match the external world, this can be done via upregulation or downregulation. Regulations can be a decrease of the heartrate, a tensing of  the musculature or a release of Insulin

How can I improve my predictions

There are few ways to do this effectively, the simplest way would be to gather more data - Another option would be to expose yourself to a multitude of states (high stress, alternative states etc.) and lastly to deduce patterns from the data.

Deducing patterns from data is made far easier via systems as a system can categorize raw data allowing for great computation and thus better predictions.

What effect will better predictions have for my life?

The effects are varying but the most common and direct effect will be a great sense of wellbeing, a feeling you are ready for whatever life throws at you. Other effects could include better sleep, improved sex life and more success at work