Fortune

REMADE BY DATA

Artificial intelligence is reshaping the “built world,” creating powerful tools—and troubling dilemmas—for designers.
PB & A.I. Maurice Conti of Alpha describes A.I. as “sort of a peanut butter you can spread” across multiple disciplines, shaping the design of wind turbines, workspaces, and more.

AT CALLAWAY, THE HIGH-END GOLF-EQUIPMENT STALWART, the process of making clubs has always been quite labor-intensive—from grinding and polishing clubheads to crafting wood-and-steel-shafted irons and wedges. The company has also long combined such artisanal handwork with technological innovation, even partnering with aerospace titan Boeing recently to codesign several aerodynamic clubs.

So when the company set out about four years ago to make its latest club line, called Epic Flash, it took the next evolutionary technological step, turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning for help. A typical club-design process might involve five to seven physical prototypes; for Epic Flash, Callaway created 15,000 virtual ones. From those, an algorithm determined the best design, selecting for peak performance—i.e., ball speed—while also conforming to the rules set forth by the U.S. Golf Association. Golf Digest gave the $530 Epic Flash driver a score of 20 out of 20 on its 2019 “Hot List,” the only driver to earn that honor. A human could not have achieved this kind of rapid iteration, or precision.

The Epic Flash

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