An optimal mental formulation of physical causality is how we stay alive; welcome to my TED talk.
According to Blaise Pascal, we sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. Nevertheless, we manage admiringly well to prevail in a universe shaped by uncertainty. We wake up every morning nearly the same person we were the day before, with clear separations between our cells and organs, and between us and the world. We are capable of stating x might lead to y, just as we are capable of stating "my novel idea will make me rich." This is remarkable for something such as us, who came to exist out of the chaotic nature of evolution. How did humans develop the ability to carve a sense of certainty out of a future defined by uncertainty?
(1) [...] the brain continuously updates a hierarchical generative model based on prior experience to predict future events and infer on the causal structure of the world. Prediction errors, indexing the discrepancy between the expected and actual outcome, serve to update prior belief, which, in turn, guides the direction of subsequent decision-making (Friston 2005; Clark 2013). This belief updating process rests on multiple prediction errors at different hierarchical levels, for example, probabilistic associations of sensory events and how they change over time (Behrens et al. 2007).
Given statements are subjective linguistic representations presupposing physical causality, how are we even conscious of these statements?
(2) Conscious presence [...] is interoceptive prediction error and is informed by predictive models of agency, general models of hierarchical predictive coding and dopaminergic signaling in cortex, the role of the anterior insular cortex (AIC) in interoception and emotion...
Given we are consciously aware of these subjective linguistic representations presupposing physical causality, how does our brain generate novel ones and then become aware of them? (i.e. a million dollar idea).
(3) [...] the left supramarginal gyrus is crucially involved in the construction of novel representations, potentially by integrating memory content in new ways and supporting executively demanding mental simulations. This study deepens our understanding of how creative thought builds on and goes beyond memory.
(4) [...] novelty is detected by the hippocampus and through its connections to the ventral tegmental area, the detection of novelty can elicit dopamine release in the hippocampus, facilitating LTP at the activated synapses (Lisman and Grace, 2005; Shohamy and Adcock, 2010). This idea can be viewed as a neurobiological formulation of the novelty/encoding hypothesis.
Given we become consciously aware of subjective linguistic representations presupposing physical causality via our brain (as a physics engine) where novelty is generated by some stochastic neural process built on prior experience, what mechanism can we use to determine what novelty increases utility? Can we even construct a universal definition for utility? (i.e. your idea containing a determinable worth).
Your idea must first premise an exchange between money and either a product or service. Then the exchange must reduce prediction error, i.e. information-theoretic free-energy, for the consumer; the reduction of more free-energy than the free-energy resulting from the consumer's accumulation of payment, and/or a notion similar to this notion.
(I postulate a utility function on novelty is one not simply intuitively computed, because you can generate ideas for art just as much as ideas for iPhones, there's a lot more to be dissected here).
This formulation describes innovation (i.e. the choice to buy cheese instead of milk your own cows or buying a car to drive instead of walking or buying a phone to call instead of mailing letters). It describes a social-function for utility applied to novelty. It describes a society's natural tendency whatever the economic system to specialize labor and as a consequence specialize education.
(I mostly made this answer for personal future reference; it's a dilemma I've been pondering for quite some time, i.e. free-energy definition of utility & novel utility-maximizing applications & ethical applications (i.e. companies only reducing free-energy versus ones profiting off the purposeful presentation of variables that increase prediction error, which they only present the means to reduce (i.e. social media companies)).
I try to alway give an evidence-based reductive approach for understanding abstract philosophical questions. If you like this, give me a follow.