We sample the world,” Friston writes, “to ensure our predictions become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That was an illusion, a fantasy that I brought to the table. [...]
He realized that the movement of the wood lice had no larger purpose, at least not in the sense that a human has a purpose when getting in a car to run an errand. The creatures’ movement was random; they simply moved faster in the warmth4 of the sun.
All these contrived, anthropomorphized explanations of purpose and survival and the like all seemed to just peel away, and the thing you were observing just was. In the sense that it could be no other way
This isn’t enough for Friston, who uses the term “active inference” to describe the way organisms minimize surprise while moving about the world.
We sample the world,” Friston writes, “to ensure our predictions become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s unclear whether the free energy principle is the secret to making the world a good and happy place, as some of its believers almost seem to think it might be. Friston himself tended to take a more measured tone as our talks went on, suggesting only that active inference and its corollaries were quite promising. Several times he conceded that he might just be “talking rubbish.” During the last group meeting I attended at the FIL, he told those in attendance that the free energy principle is an “as if” concept—it does not require that biological things minimize free energy in order to exist; it is merely sufficient as an explanation for biotic self-organization.
Friston says his work has two primary motivations. Sure, it would be nice to see the free energy principle lead to true artificial consciousness someday, he says, but that’s not one of his top priorities. Rather, his first big desire is to advance schizophrenia research, to help repair the brains of patients like the ones he knew at the old asylum. And his second main motivation, he says, is “much more selfish.” It goes back to that evening in his bedroom, as a teenager, looking at the cherry blossoms, wondering, “Can I sort it all out in the simplest way possible?”
And that is a very self-indulgent thing. It has no altruistic clinical compassion behind it. It is just the selfish desire to try and understand things as completely and as rigorously and as simply as possible,” he says. “I often reflect on the jokes that people make about me—sometimes maliciously, sometimes very amusingly—that I can’t communicate. And I think: I didn’t write it for you. I wrote it for me.