Training in the Dojo of the Mind: Etic Lab Summer Seminar 2023

At the end of July Etic Lab found ourselves in deep mid-Wales at the picturesque Staylittle Lodge. As it was the wettest day of the year, the time had come for Etic Lab’s summer BBQ and celebration of our ability to force an audience of our peers to pay attention to us for an hour. 

The Partner’s Summer Seminar has become an annual institution where we share things we’ve been working on or thinking about outside of our usual efforts. In the past spectacular projects, products, papers and hangovers have all come out of the couple of days we’ve spent together and it was, as usual, hotly anticipated.

The programme treated us to a diverse array of talks, ranging from the history of the digital occult to a cri de coeur to limit the impact of AI on fashion designers. 

The line-up of Etic Lab has gone through some changes in recent months and this year, alongside newly crowned partners Alex D and Stephanie, we welcomed new associate partners Sean and Richard, both of whom admirably handled the pressure of performing in front of a hostile crowd.

Stephanie Moran: Coding the Digital Occult Part 2: a history of the figure Zero

Kicking off the seminar was Stephanie Moran, who delivered an insightful talk that unravelled the History of the number Zero. Dr Moran explored the profound significance of the concept of zero, demonstrating its crucial role in shaping our reality. Her talk predictably moved onto the Stephanie-esque fusion of science fiction and esoteric religious experience and its tangible implications in modern society.

Managing Partner Alex Hogan presented a demand that, after reflecting on Etic Lab’s previous work, we re-discover the adventurous spirit of Etic’s past by looking for more opportunities to play the trickster. He also showed off an innovative graphic detailing all the problems with expecting help to innovate in the UK. Keep an eye-out for an initiative to produce generic antidepressants through community gardening soon.

Sean Coutts, the Lab’s newest associate partner, impressed the audience with a compelling pitch for himself. Sean went to great lengths to discuss his impressive record of having seen every band to have ever played live music in the United Kingdom, however we were able to tease out of him a candid admission that he has never seen Black Sabbath.

He then presented a project to automate measurement of the Technological Readiness Level of emerging technologies.

Alex Darer : Unraveling Complex Social Systems and Their Ethical Implications

Dr Darer took the stage to ask how we can wield our predictive powers to model complex social systems and urged the audience to consider responsible applications of his knowledge.

Beth delivered a harrowing hour to frighten us all with stories of gambling in football and other financial crimes associated with the People’s Game.

She proposed that as part of the clamour to hand over administration of vast swathes of civic administration to algorithms, we might attempt to do the same with detecting and shouting about the possibility that money might have detrimental effects on Football.

Kevin gave a talk entitled “Perspectives on the Current Crisis and Fostering Client Empowerment” offering a thoughtful analysis the omnicrisis he sees engulfing us all, while also reflecting on strategies to empower Etic’s clients with models for decision-making amidst ramifying uncertainties.

Casper then spoke on deconstructing economic mythology surrounding inflation & interest rates. He suggested that his presentation was a timely rebuke and critique of official narratives and is especially keen to take it outside of the lab to interested parties. Anyone looking for nuanced understanding of economic complexities should get in touch with him.

GUEST SPEAKER: Natalie Moran: AI’s Influence on the Fashion Design Process

Natalie provided a captivating insight into fashion design’s potential to transformation through the application of AI. Her talk sparked lively discussions about the intersection of technology and creativity in the fashion industry and was a heartfelt cry to ensure everyone knows AI can’t replace fashion designers.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Natalie Moran for gracing the seminar with her valuable insights and enriching the event with her knowledge. Her contribution added a new dimension to the discussions and fostered a deeper understanding of the intersection between technology and creativity in the fashion world

Chris: Fostering Creativity through Art

Chris led a much-resented hands-on workshop to produce a new piece of art work for the Etic Lab head-office. The hung-over participants were directed to beat each other at chess as a way of deciding which abstract cuboids would be incorporated into the new design.

Dr Woodall took the stage with an irony ridden proposal centred around the weaponising of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new Consumer Duty. 

Aware that attendees were keenly versed in the technical requirements in regulatory oversight and the potential for positive change by acting aggressively with digital technologies to enforce existing regulatory frameworks, Rich roused us all in calling for Etic to give it another go.


Rich: Proposing Consumer Duty Monitoring and Reflecting on Regulatory Dynamics

The Etic Lab Summer Seminar was a lovely couple of days, bringing together the whole lab to explore a wide array of thought-provoking topics. From yet more digital occult content to Etic’s budding entry into the fashion industry, the talks sparked insightful discussions and highlighted the Lab’s commitment to groundbreaking research. This gathering left the attendees with renewed enthusiasm for their work and an enduring sense of camaraderie. As we eagerly await the next Etic Lab event, we look forward to witnessing more groundbreaking ideas and discussions that push the boundaries of innovation.

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