April Fools

An Artificial Intelligence Cautionary Tale

The new tool OpenAI-Architect proves problematic with the design of the new Leave It to Beaver Center at Disney World.

April 1, 2023

a robot architect wearing a black turtleneck and glasses.

OpenAI-Architect provided this self portrait to BuildingGreen upon request.

Image: OpenAI-Architect
Everything started out all right. The state oversight board for Disney World was thrilled at how much money they would save by using OpenAI-Architect in the design of their new Leave It to Beaver Interpretive Center in Orlando. 

“We thought it was a no-brainer,” noted Remington DeSantis, the recently appointed director of operations at the amusement park and nephew of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “We could cut out the radical left architecture profession altogether,” he told BuildingGreen, “and skip their entitled, woke attitudes about ESG, or whatever they call it.” 

Disney’s in-house AI team, repurposed from a just-canceled Disney animated studio production of The Little Mermaid Returns (which came under fire after Fox News personality Laura Ingraham questioned whether the Little Mermaid might have “transitioned” from one species to another), established the design parameters for the new facility. There would be no solar features or climate-responsive design elements, or native landscaping. A materials consortium of Georgia-Pacific, Bayer Polyurethanes, and Halliburton advised on product specifications. Little guidance was provided on the overall design; about the only requirement was to include a clocktower.

“This is easy,” Rem DeSantis quipped as his Disney colleague and younger brother, Ruger, tapped enter and set OpenAI-Architect to work on the quick-turnaround design-build project. Through the wonders of expedited permitting, modularization, and off-site CAD-CAM production, the grand opening was held a mere six months after OpenAI-Architect began design. 

What the development team didn’t realize until it was too late was that OpenAI-Architect took it upon itself to design the facility with an uncanny resemblance to a hand flipping the bird—with the central clocktower resembling a middle finger. AI experts are still trying to figure out why—and how—the AI software was able to incorporate what was immediately identified by the media as being directed at the new leadership at Disney World.

The new building became a rallying cry for the left, giving new energy to a burgeoning backlash against Florida’s draconian laws restricting gender-affirming therapies, freedom of speech around race and gender topics in schools, and reproductive rights. Governor DeSantis was forced by the Disney World board to remove the entire project team, including his two nephews, and at press time leadership at the amusement park was still trying to figure out what to do with the building. Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature is debating a bill to ban AI software in the state.

Editor’s note: Photos of the new facility have been removed pending resolution of a lawsuit with the Governor’s Office in Florida.

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