Toward a Quantum Theory of Media

In 2006, TDG’s co-founder and president, Michael Greeson, first presented the notion of a quantum theory of media to a group of engineers at TI. In 2008, he finally put pen to paper and articulated the fundamentals of this theory.

In this paper, Greeson describes a media universe undergoing rapid, persistent, and dramatic change, so much that the word ‘revolution’ does not seem out of place. Simply stated, digital technologies have altered the very essence of media production, distribution, and consumption.

This paper describes specific theoretical similarities between the worlds of quantum physical theory and the cutting edge of digital media. This is not an attempt to make digital media studies more quantitative or ‘scientific.’ In fact, the thesis of this paper is very simple: there are certain conceptual tenets of quantum physical theory that provide an interesting and helpful lens through which to view the changes now impacting the media value chain. It is our belief that a quantum theory of media provides a superior conceptual framework in which to understand contemporary media creation, distribution, and consumption — notably superior to the traditional media paradigm.

Now more than six years old, many of the ideas discussed in this paper have come to fruition; others are soon to be realized.

As noted in the title, this paper is merely an attempt to move “toward” a quantum theory – it does not in-and-of-itself contain such a theory. That being said, we hope the paper inspires you to think more deeply about this very nuanced, sophisticated, and evolving realm of human behavior.