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Some decades ago, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) guru and amateur yachtsman, Billy Blister, found himself high and dry on the mud of the River Stour. With hours to wait he made a steaming cup and settled down to reflect on the future of AI. One particular question was exercising his mind – How would an objective observer know when AI had advanced to the point that is was equivalent to human intelligence?
It was obvious to Billy that AI needed to be judged against the very pinnacle of achievement of human intelligence. And what better benchmark than the design of the Fairey Atalanta 26 – a design that Billy had long though represented the ultimate combination of heart-stopping beauty and function.
Thus, the ‘Uffa Test’ was born. AI could be judged equivalent to human intelligence when and only when, being given a simple design specification, it generates a design as stunning, functional and timeless as Uffa Fox had done in the 1950s. Billy’s specification was as follows: ‘a small, sail-powered, hot-moulded cruising yacht, that is trailable and family-friendly’.
Since that sunny Essex afternoon AI has come on in leaps and bounds, so this seemed an appropriate moment to dust off the Uffa Test. Using the ‘text-to-image’ AI website ‘Stable Diffusion’, the design specification was entered and the ‘Generate Image’ button pressed. Seconds later the output shown below emerged.
So, what do you think, can we now hand all yacht design over to the machines?
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