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About this book

Never before was anticipation more relevant to the life and activity of humankind than it is today. “It is no overstatement to suggest that humanity’s future will be shaped by its capacity to anticipate….” (Research Agenda for the 21st Century, National Science Foundation). The sciences and the humanities can no longer risk explaining away the complexity and interactivity that lie at the foundation of life and living. The perspective of the world that anticipation opens justifies the descriptor “the post-Cartesian Revolution.”

If anticipation is a valid research domain, what practical relevance can we await? Indeed, anticipation is more than just the latest catch-word in marketing the apps developed by the digital technology industry. Due to spectacular advances in the study of the living, anticipation can claim a legitimate place in current investigations and applications in the sciences and the humanities. Biology, genetics, medicine, as well as politics and cognitive, behavioral, and social sciences, provide rich evidence of anticipatory processes at work. Readers seeking a foundation for an

ticipation will find in these pages recent outcomes pertinent to plant life, political anticipation, cognitive science, architecture, computation. The authors contributing to this volume frame experimental data in language that can be shared among experts from all fields of endeavor. The major characteristic is the inference from the richness of data to principles and practical consequences.

Table of Contents


The (Almost) Impossible Task of Interdisciplinarity

While physics and physics-based disciplines adequately describe the non-living, there is a need for a complementary perspective that captures the essence of life. Biology and neuroscience could provide such a perspective, provided that they are not practiced as yet another form of physics. Of course, an authentic and effective complementary perspective can only reaffirm materiality and the associated dynamics that physics, or for that matter biology, explores. But it has to also account for the specific causality characteristic of life by integrating past, present, and


. Experimental evidence and empirical knowledge attest that there is no intentionality in the realm covered by physics and physics-associated disciplines. In contradistinction, the living is always characterized by what an observer could only describe as goal-oriented behavior. Current biology and neuroscience either end up explaining this behavior in terms specific to physical determinism, or simply leave anticipation out of the larger picture.

Mihai Nadin

Theoretical and General Aspects of Anticipation


Anticipation of Random Future Events

I will present the evidence, albeit apparently paradoxical, that some seconds before the perception of random events of different arousal levels (e.g. a pleasant or an unpleasant sound), our neuro- and psychophysiological systems, show a reaction correlated with them. In this chapter I will describe the phenomenon, review the available evidenceand I’ll try to explain this phenomenon and the possible practical applications.

Patrizio Tressoldi

The Birth Defect of the Information Processing Approach

Academic psychology is dominated by the information processing approach (IPA) since about six decades. According to the IPA mental activities, i.e. cognition, serve the processing of stimuli in order to reconstruct a representation of the environment. It is argued that this notion is misleading: Mental activities primarily serve the control of voluntary behaviour. In this function, they are striving for anticipations of achievable states. Accordingly, cognition does not refer to the processing but to the anticipation of achievable desired stimuli or states. Two ‘ancient’ conceptions in psychology already emphasized the crucial role of behaviourally guided anticipations: the reafference—and the ideomotor principle, the former dealing with the basics of perception and the latter dealing with the basics of behavioural control. Speculations are discussed, about how both principles might work together for the control of voluntary behaviour creating by this the mental structure of the perceived world.

Joachim Hoffmann

An Epistemological Compromise Between Actor and Observer

The computational aspects of prediction are examined in the context of anticipation. A practical model using reinforcement learning is presented and implications about making predictions from within the system are explored. An argument is put forward that implies the ability to determine the unknown state of a system (be it a hidden region or future evolution) results in an epistemological limit. A simple principle is introduced that defines a complementary relationship between what is knowable and what is mutable. The epistemological aspects of this relationship are explored in the context of how choice affects what can be known and therefore what becomes immutable. Some insight is gained into the relationship between this choice and the irreversibility of the thermodynamic arrow of time.

Alastair Hewitt

Anticipation in Biological and Physiological Systems


Future Perception in Plants

Although a few of the earliest naturalists, such as Theophrastus, made concrete observations regarding the sophisticated ways by which plants sense and respond to their environments, the prevailing attitude toward plants has been based on the Aristotelian paradigm, that at their low rank, slightly above minerals on

Scala Naturae

, plants are mere non-sentient soil-eating blobs. However, accumulating evidence demonstrates that plants are able to not only precisely gauge and respond to their immediate environments but can also perceive, integrate and adaptively respond to myriad internal and external signals and cues that are correlated with their future environments, in ways that maximize their life-time performance.

Ariel Novoplansky

Certain and Uncertain Futures in the Brain

A variety of brain imaging and single-cell results on anticipation in neural systems is reviewed. The broad categories of neural processes under consideration include (1) anticipation of intended movements, both what movements to perform and when to perform them; (2) anticipation of rewards and punishments; (3) certainty or uncertainty of anticipated outcomes. These literatures are mostly separate from each other and so a general network theory of anticipation and prediction in the brain has not yet emerged. Yet there are now many sophisticated neural network models available that unify perceptual, behavioral, and valuation data, and in the next generation these models can integrate the neural data on anticipation.

Daniel S. Levine

Neural Systems Underlying the Prediction of Complex Events

Animals depend on predictions about the near future to react and act in a timely, situation-appropriate fashion. Prediction is particularly challenged in the face of events: these entail a stimulus whose temporally directed structure is meaningful in itself. Many simple events, e.g. regular motion, can be predicted by means of dynamic-forward extrapolation. For this class of predictions, the premotor-parietal network is active which we also need to plan our own body movements. However, when it comes to complex events such as action, speech, or music, we additionally need to retrieve semantic and episodic memories in order to feed and restrict the required predictions. These processes are reflected in activity of functionally specialized brain networks, as outlined in the present article for the case of action prediction. Here, knowledge about objects, rooms, and actors is exploited, but also action scripts that account for the actions’ probabilistic architecture.

Ricarda I. Schubotz

Time and Consciousness

Some theories in physics and beyond argue that the emergence of an arrow of time is strongly related to conscious experience. Few approaches—known under the term quantum models of the mind- even claim that

consciousness creates time

. In the following we will provide theoretical arguments and empirical evidence showing that the arrow of time disappears when an individual’s information processing mode changes from conscious to unconscious states of mind. This implies that unconscious processing allow for a better than chance anticipation of random future events. The theoretical and practical implications of these models are discussed.

Markus A. Maier, Vanessa L. Buechner

Human, All Too Human: Euclidean and Multifractal Analysis in an Experimental Diagrammatic Model of Thinking

A nominal, theoretical definition of executive functions and a diagrammatic model of thinking, related to the research and writings of J. Piaget, J. S. Peirce, P. K. Anokhin and N. A. Bernstein, is presented. The model is an attempt to capture the underlying anticipatory inferential dynamics of human thinking. Furthermore the model is substantiated in a microgenetic experimental paradigm that contains a problem-solving task presented to children, adolescents and machine algorithms. Representative examples of Euclidean and multifractal analysis and its results are illustrated. Our findings suggest that the dynamics of inferential processes in humans are like finger-prints, i.e., they display an idiosyncratic character. It is hypothesised that due to the discriminant character of these processes, the paradigm could have a potential clinical use allowing the quantitative description, classification, diagnosis, monitoring and screening of mental conditions that impair executive functions. It is concluded that this model and the related experimental paradigm could help us increase our knowledge of the anticipatory aspects of human cognition.

Fabián Labra-Spröhnle

Anticipation in Neural Networks


The Closed-Loop Coding-Decoding and Analysis by Synthesis as Basics Anticipatory Principle Functional Organization in the Living Systems

Theoretical studies of living systems (LS) from the

automatic control

(AC) and

perceptual control systems

(PCS) positions, the



loop coding



(CL-CD) and

analysis by synthesis

(A-by-S) concepts, as the basic principle of the

anticipatory systems

(AS), reveal anticipation in functional organization of LS. The behavior of animals, especially human organisms, and of society show that model-based anticipation may be constructed cyclically, statistically as Perceptron, by the Kalman filters principles or on phenomenal memory models. It is correlated with the specific neural-structures: reptilian (as Perceptron), limbic paleo-cortex (as Kalman filter), and neo-cortex acting as neuro-quasiholographic, neuro-chaos, and factor analysis in the A-by-S decision-making system. The nontrivial Foerster-Kauffman “machine,” as the CL-CD, and


of vision as anticipatory perceptive A-by-S systems in the brain are proposed. Social human forecasting as the anticipation for best-organized system management is discussed.

Dobilas Kirvelis

The Imminence Mapping Anticipates

I present a new mathematical formulation of anticipation. A brief introduction to the theory of set-valued mappings culminates in a special specimen, the imminence mapping




of a natural system


. For each process




, the set

$${\text{Imm}}_{\,N} \left( f \right)$$




encompasses all possible further actions arising from


, which one may consider the ‘imminence’ of


. The imminence mapping definitively characterizes


as a complex relational network of interacting processes and their entailed potentialities. A natural system


is an anticipatory system if it contains an internal predictive model of itself and its environment, and in accordance with the model’s predictions antecedent actions are taken. Consequent manifestations of the internal predictive model of an anticipatory system are thus embodied in the system’s imminence, whence the imminence mapping, among all that it entails, eminently anticipates.

A. H. Louie

Synapses in Digital Medium: Computational Investigations of Neural Basis of Anticipation

Anticipation is an emerging concept that can provide a bridge between the deepest philosophical theories about the nature of life and cognition on one hand and the empirical biological sciences steeped in reductionist and Newtonian conception of causality. Three conceptions of anticipation have been emerging from the literature that may be operationalised in a way leading to a viable empirical programme. The discussion of the research into a novel dynamical concept of anticipating synchronisation lends credence to such a possibility and suggests further links between the three anticipation paradigms. A careful progress mindful to the deep philosophical concerns but also respecting empirical evidence will ultimately lead towards unifying theoretical and empirical biological sciences and may offer progress where reductionist science have been so far faltering.

Slawomir J. Nasuto, Yoshikatsu Hayashi

Representation and Anticipation in Motor Action

This paper introduces a cognitive architecture model of human action, showing how it is organized over several levels and how it is built up to connect the anticipation of future states and related action execution. Basic Action Concepts (BACs) are identified as major building blocks on a representation level. These BACs are considered cognitive tools for mastering the functional demands of movement tasks. Different lines of research, ranging from complex action to manual action, are presented that provide evidence for a systematic relation between the cognitive representation structures and the actual motor performance. It is concluded that such motor representations provide the basis for action anticipation and motor execution by linking higher-level action goals with the lower-level perceptual effects in the form of cognitive reference structures.

Thomas Schack, Christoph Schütz, André Frank Krause, Christian Seegelke

Anticipation in Engineering and Information Technology


Information Concepts in Anticipatory Systems

Anticipatory Systems involve intelligent information acquisition and processing. This presentation provides a combined information, communication, and computational perspective of these systems using an Information Engine model that leads to some fundamental definitions of intelligence. An Information Engine model represents the transformation of raw information to a form that is directly utilized by the target application just as a thermodynamic engine converts heat into mechanical work. Taking the analogy of Carnot’s cycle, the area of the information cycle in the information-need and entropy coordinates of the Information Engine model is defined as logical work which is proposed here as a unified measure of intelligence that has the promise of capturing a variety of diverse systems ranging from natural to constructed and hybrid systems. This model provides a unified concept of the informational, computational, and intelligence aspects of anticipatory systems and hybrid intelligent systems across diverse implementations and applications.

Tippure S. Sundresh

Anticipatory Behavior of Software Agents in Self-organizing Negotiations

Software agents are a well-established approach for modeling autonomous entities in distributed artificial intelligence. Iterated negotiations allow for coordinating the activities of multiple autonomous agents by means of repeated interactions. However, if several agents interact concurrently, the participants’ activities can mutually influence each other. This leads to poor coordination results. In this paper, we discuss these interrelations and propose a self-organization approach to cope with that problem. To that end, we apply distributed reinforcement learning as a feedback mechanism to the agents’ decision-making process. This enables the agents to use their experiences from previous activities to anticipate the results of potential future actions. They mutually adapt their behaviors to each other which results in the emergence of social order within the multiagent system. We empirically evaluate the dynamics of that process in a multiagent resource allocation scenario. The results show that the agents successfully anticipate the reactions to their activities in that dynamic and partially observable negotiation environment. This enables them to maximize their payoffs and to drastically outperform non-anticipating agents.

Jan Ole Berndt, Otthein Herzog

The Ways of Scientific Anticipation: From Guesses to Probabilities and from There to Certainty

Science of anticipation can be distinguished into three kinds, each relying on a different psychological mechanism. Further, these mechanisms—based on everyday conceptual thinking, thinking in logical concepts and thinking in systemic concepts, respectively—are in hierarchical relationships the first being the least developed and the last the most developed form of (scientific) thought. Each of these three sciences has specific to it understanding of what is scientific explanation and by which methods the explanation can be achieved. It is noteworthy that following from the epistemology and methodology of each of the three kinds of sciences, different forms of scientific anticipation can be achieved. The least developed everyday conceptual science grounds anticipation essentially on chance discoveries of patterns in everyday observations. Logical conceptual thought allows formalization of anticipation, mathematical in the first place. Yet formal anticipation is limited, because it does not contain understanding of why, by which mechanisms, certain events—“causes”—are followed by others–“effects.” This limitation can be overcome by structural-systemic science, which grounds anticipation on explicit understanding of the structures and the ways they change.

Aaro Toomela

Anticipatory Engineering: Anticipation in Sensory-Motor Systems of Human

In visual tracking experiments, distributions of the relative phase between target and tracer showed positive relative phase indicating that the tracer precedes the target position. We found a mode transition from the reactive to anticipatory mode. The proposed integrated model provides a framework to understand the anticipatory behaviour of human, focusing on the integration of visual and somatosensory information. The time delays in visual processing and somatosensory feedback are explicitly treated in the simultaneous differential equations. The anticipatory behaviour observed in the visual tracking experiments can be explained by the feedforward term of target velocity, internal dynamics, and time delay in somatosensory feedback.

Yoshikatsu Hayashi, Jamie Blake, Slawomir J. Nasuto

Anticipation and Computation: Is Anticipatory Computing Possible?

Anticipation, a definitory characteristic of the living, is expressed in action. It implies awareness of past, present, and future, i.e., of time. Anticipatory processes pertain to the world’s dynamics. Anticipation also implies an observation capability, the acquired function of processing what is observed, and the ability to effect change. Computation means processing quantitative distinctions of physical entities and of those that inform the condition and behavior of the living. Autonomic processing is the prerequisite for anticipatory expression. In the physical, processing is reactive; in the living it is autonomic. Automated calculations, inspired by human “computers,” are different in nature from those involved in living dynamics. To distinguish between anticipatory and predictive computation is to account for the role of the possible future in dealing with change.

Mihai Nadin

Anticipation, Culture, and Society


On the Role of Anticipation in Teaching

Successful learning is much dependent on memory and attention concentration processes. In this paper we introduce a method allowing to maintain high levels of learners’ attention based on anticipation. Practically, it is difficult to reach high levels of concentration. However, using the selective approach it is possible: when new material is covered, each student experiences attention climax at the most relevant moments and attention decay when irrelevant material is being explained. This approach was called “selective mobilization” of attention and has been successfully used in physics lessons in two colleges in Jerusalem and in the Hebrew University junior high school. The method induces strong emotional response and elevated motivation and activity levels in students. Moreover, anticipation has significant influence on memory processes, which has been demonstrated in our experiments.

Lea Valentine Lavrik, Meir Vladimir Shunyakov

Anticipation | Computational Creativity

The paper will outline the role of anticipatory systems as part of a set of computationally driven creative processes. Here the goal is to both use the computer as a tool functioning in the service of human creative processes e.g. authoring a system to help compose generative music, as well as to begin to explore “learning” and the abstraction of creative processes in terms of autonomous computational creativity. Anticipation is here undertaken in a mindfully-aware manner, as drawn from the deep study, understanding and articulation of human creativity. Thus, this research seeks to define the driving problems in authoring autonomous generative computational systems through the pragmatic application of biomimetics and bioabstraction, drawing in part on the study of human anticipatory systems that play an active role in creative processes.

Bill Seaman

Art in Progress

Aesthetic purpose is anticipatory by its nature. In their concrete action—painting, composing, writing, filming, dancing, etc.—individuals involved in aesthetic activities are driven by a goal (obviously projected into the future) that will eventually become an artifact or a performance. The experiment, “Inside Out—A Performance” (Anticipation and Art) took place in the context of a conference that examined anticipation across disciplines. Through the nature of the experiment, aesthetics became a test-bed for ideas pertaining to the expression of anticipation in action.

Elvira Nadin

Political Anticipation and Networks: Creating Anticipatory Systems for Government and Society

LEAP was established in response to the need for future-oriented programs for the European Union. Political Anticipation transcends the outdated paradigm of permanent, centralized, hierarchic, and isolated institutionalism by networking throughout the entire European Community. Just as every cell in a living organism plays a part in the functioning of the whole body, so do individuals, connected through modern technology, have an important role, on the local, national, and trans-European levels. Informed by trends, Political Anticipation attempts to guide policy in full awareness of possible outcomes. This stands in stark contrast to the deterministic, reaction-based, and big classic outmoded patterns prevalent in the European Community today.

Marie-Hélène Caillol

Interactive Living Space Design for Neo-Nomads: Anticipation Through Spatial Articulation

Recent advances in embedded computing technology of microchips and sensors have given rise to computer-mediated, human-centered interactions and emergent mobile lifestyles. Interactive system design driven by embedded computing collaborates with architectural design in the realm of habitable interactive architecture to generate and facilitate human interaction with built environment. However, the potential of interactive technology as a design means in the anticipatory spatial thinking of traditional architecture is still largely unexplored. This paper proposes design possibilities of an interactively modifiable living space that aims to accommodate evolving lifestyles of highly mobile, information age professionals, also referred to as




. The proposed design investigates anticipatory dimensions of interactive technology in generating possible spatial articulations through human-space interaction to meet design goals.

Asma Naz
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