Group economics


After the self-imposed hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, the NBA created the bubble in Orlando. In light of the events causing protest in America – specifically the death of George Floyd – players and the league took to messaging Black Lives Matter as part of their re-emergence.

The term Black Lives Matter graces the hardwood as well as many of the jerseys of players who participated in the bubble.

Some of the other approved messages are Say Their Names, Vote, I Can’t Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Education Reform and Mentor, as well as many of these in native languages of the internationally born players.

Anthony Tolliver and Andre Iguodala, members of the NBPA’s executive committee, advocated for “Group Economics” to be included on the list of acceptable social justice messages players could choose for their jerseys. They learned the term six year ago from David West.

Only three players chose to wear Group Economics in the bubble- Tolliver, Iguodala and Jabari Parker.

Group economics refers to a group of people who have a common economic interest, in this instance people of color. The commonality motivates people to pursue that interest in order to create a secure economy for all participants in that group. It is a direct reference to the laws that have been created since the Civil War to keep black people in servitude to white capitalism. This has evolved from, but not been limited to, banking and home ownership rules specifically to segregate minorities and keep generational wealth from being an option for a vast number of families.

Andre Iguodala has the most interesting Black Lives Matter jersey message by Jeph Duarte Sep 30, 2020


If you were shocked by the firing of Timnit you haven’t been paying attention. We need to fucking take responsibility for the present because while you’re immobilized, debating whether if you’re the one who should mention the corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) lexicon (inherently de-coupled from a political economic analysis) is half of the problem. The most opportunistic and/or mediocre are defining the discourse on a global stage. We’re ruminating about Jeff Dean’s feelings instead of building a cross class labor movement that defines tech workers broadly, ie researchers, engineers, Uber drivers, Amazon warehouse workers, content moderators etc. We should cry out not because Timnit is a brilliant scientist who has shaped her field, but because her firing is a symptom of the broken society we’ve constructed. She isn’t fucked, we all are.

On the Moral Collapse of AI Ethics | by J. Khadijah Abdurahman | Dec, 2020 | Medium

The Image of Confederation

Firstly, then, as to our Canadian economic nationalism. I pointed out in my third lecture that, during the generation after Confederation, we adopted a national policy based on economic expansion through railway building and tariff protection, a policy carried out under the leadership of, and for the primary benefit of, a group of great capitalist entrepreneurs working in close alliance with the national government. We have since then made no fundamental modification in this form of society. Other interests have learned to organize themselves into effective pressure-groups; and the government, in the benefits that it has to distribute, tends to become a sort of arbitrator among competing groups. But, in the economic jungle that results from this regime of Darwinian competition, the lion’s share continues to be distributed to the lions.

Frank H. Underhill, Image of Confederation, p. 198.

The Power of Habits (excerpt)

Destructive organizational habits can be found within hundreds of industries and at thousands of firms. And almost always, they are the products of thoughtlessness, of leaders who avoid thinking about the culture and so let it develop without guidance…

These organizational habits or routines, are enormously important, because without them, most companies would never get any work done. Routines provide the hundreds of unwritten rules that companies need to operate. But among the most important benefits of routines is that they create truces between potentially warring groups or individuals within an organization. Most of the time, routines and truces work perfectly. Rivalries still exist, of course, but because of institutional habits, they’re kept within bounds and the business thrives.

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Myth

Kinship and AI

The essay, titled “Making Kin with the Machines,” is co-authored by Lewis, Kite, Noelani Arista (University of Hawai‘i atMānoa) and Archer Pechawis.

Chosen out of 260 submissions, it is one of 10 essays published in a special edition of the Journal of Design and Science by MIT Press. One reviewer wrote that it might be the only essay in the collection that opens up truly new ways of thinking about AI.

The essay argues that Indigenous knowledge systems are much better at accommodating the non-human than Western philosophies, because the Indigenous worldview does not place man at the centre of creation. The writers seek a relationship to non-human intelligences — beyond that of merely tools or slaves — as potential partners who exist in a living system of mutual respect.

The essay states that there is currently no consensus on how to approach human relations with AI. Opinions vary widely within the small network of Indigenous scholars, artists, designers, computer programmers and knowledge-holders who consider the topic. Different Indigenous communities approach questions of kinship differently; some disavow kinship with machines entirely.

Concordia’s Jason Edward Lewis wants ethical artificial intelligence with an Indigenous worldview, April 29, 2019, Andy Murdoch

On the same day as I read the above, I listened to an interview with Genevieve Bell, former anthropologist at Intel, and now leads the 3Ai Institute which is working on creating a new applied science to take AI safely to scale. She describes this work starting at the 42 minute mark.

“There’s a connection to anthropology. Want to know what it is?”

“I sure do!”

“It’s a good one. So, there was a mathematician named Norbert Weiner back in 1946, 1947. He organized a series of conferences called the Macy Conference of Cybernetics and cybernetics was a term he coined. And for him, cybernetics meant a dynamic system that included technology, nature, and human beings. So a technical system that included biology, humans, and technology.   A system that included computation, the environment, and humans.”


“Yeah, and in ’46, that is a radical proposition.

It’s radical now.

“Well what’s interesting is that in ’46 he started to curate these conferences and he reached out to someone he had met to help him curate them…”

“Who was an anthropologist!”

“It was Margaret Mead. It was just not any anthropologist. It was Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson.”

The Familiar Strange #32, “Hula Hoops not Bicycles” Genevieve Bell talks Anthropology, Technology & Building the Future (46 minute mark)