Local interactionism and the attention economy

Beavitt, Thomas Alexander 
Researcher, Institute of Law and Philosophy, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg, Russia

As overabundant information becomes indistinguishable from misinformation, human attention becomes an increasingly scarce and valuable resource. The ability to pay high quality attention in an attention economy can be analysed from the emerging position uniting consciousness studies and quantum physics known as local interactionism. Here, worlds, including laws of cause and effect applying in them, as well as applicable dimensions of time and space, are maintained by local interactions between conscious particles. While all such worlds are always already contained in other worlds generated by local interactions at a higher level, whose laws are experienced by us as deterministic, all our possibilities are realised in those worlds generated by our local interactions. Reciprocal local interactions between conscious particles at our level, which invariably involve the mutual paying and receiving of attention, form the basis for a descriptive humanism. Wave-particle duality applying to local interactions at different levels corresponds to the public and private spheres of human social experience. To the extent that their interactions form a predictable wave, participants must conform to external (social) norms. However, such interactions also define public/private boundaries within which qualities like intimacy and sincerity become possible, forming the basis for subsocial structures like relationship, family and community. Whether used for interpreting quantum wave-particle duality or when mapped onto contemporary theories of consciousness, local interactionism turns out to be more analytically parsimonious than other ontological theories. By treating particular interactions as primary sources of reciprocal causality at a given level, it is possible to parse different kinds of applicable causality, which can be broadly analysed in human terms of necessity, probability and possibility. In an era increasingly dominated by AI, local interactionism and the attention economy become important paradigms for understanding the relevance of various human activities including scientific research and communication.

Keywords: local interactionism, attention economy, conscious particles, levels and scales of interaction, communication devices, sovereignty, privacy, conformity, descriptive humanism, heuristics