Ventana Surfboard Design: To AI or Not to AI

Exploring the Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence

We are equally amazed and concerned by the capabilities and potential of artificial intelligence (AI). The impact of AI on industries and job roles is already significant, and the extent of its effects is difficult to predict. Tools with capabilities that were once unimaginable are now widespread.

AI is helping professionals in various fields, including design, conservation, healthcare, writing, music, marketing, software engineering, education, research, science, videography, and journalism, to work smarter, faster, and with greater productivity. And many of us are already using AI without even realizing it in contexts such as technology in our cars, chatbots for customer support, social media algorithms, grammar checkers, texting and email autocomplete and grammar checking, facial recognition to unlock our phones, and financial fraud protection.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. AI has raised serious concerns about intellectual property rights, the potential for job losses, nefarious uses by individuals and governments, and the further disenfranchisement of those with less access to technology and education. 

Here at Ventana, we're already utilizing AI to improve blog posts, product images, and social media content, as well as generate marketing ideas and edit text. For instance, the text in this blog post was written by us but edited for clarity and conciseness by Microsoft Bing’s free, Chat GPT-based AI tool.

What are your thoughts on using AI in our surfboard design process?

We've always been interested in the intersection of modern technology and old-world artisanship. A Ventana surfboard is created using a mix of technologies from century-old, refurbished hand tools to laser and router-based CNC machines. And we try to live our company's brand values – artisanship, responsibility, adventure – in everything we do.

We’re curious about our community’s thoughts on using AI to create inspirations for our wooden surfboards. For example, we used AI tools from Midjourney to render wooden surfboard designs inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright using the simple prompt: imagine/ a wooden surfboard with an inlay in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. A few of the renderings are shown here. 

Ventana surfboards AI Frank Lloyd Wright

Our two favorites are below. As a start, we envision creating a 6'6" surfboard using one of our existing templates. The surfboard would look similar to the board below (top deck - right; bottom deck - left). Of course, we'd use reclaimed and salvaged wood from our storied stash that was donated to us by way of the Ventana Upcycled Partner Program.

If a customer were interested in this board, we would collaborate with them to pick out the woods, allow them to participate in the build, and encourage their guidance on design, shape, and length. So, artificial intelligence would only play a part in the process. In fact, we could generate new and unique ideas using AI prompts that we would write together with the customer. 

Again, the board designs below were created using Midjourney's AI tools and the beach background shown here was created using the AI capabilities of the PhotoRoom app.

Ventana Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired AI board - Midjourney

So, what do you think? 

Here are a few questions we have to jumpstart the conversation:

  1. Are we being true to our artisan identity and brand values if we were to use AI as inspiration for some of our designs? 
  2. What are your thoughts on the intellectual property issues that have arisen from the training data used to create the Large Language Models (LLM) that power artificial intelligence?
  3. Are there issues and/or benefits of using AI that we may not be considering?
  4. Are there other ways you think companies like ours should or should not be using AI?

We would love to hear your views!

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Here are a few images that were generated by us using Midjourney. We then used Photoshop to place the AI-generated surfboards in these "photos." 

Ventana Frank Lloyd Write-inspired AI board in a living room
Ventana surfboard with a woman on the beach
Ventana Frank Lloyd Wright AI surfboard
AI-generated living room + wooden surfboard inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright - Midjourney + Photoshop