AI is Here and SparkCognition is Making it Real


In opening remarks kicking off Time Machine Interactive: AI in the Physical World (TMI22), SparkCognition founder and CEO Amir Husain posed a thematic question: “What can we actually do with AI that makes a difference … to make our world better in really tangible, specific ways?” 


As the day’s action-packed schedule proceeded from keynote speakers to featured case studies to breakout sessions, panel discussions, interactive technology demos, and more, the answer became crystal clear:  AI can do—and is doing—extraordinary things across broad and important real-world categories. 


Making AI real: SparkCognition’s building blocks approach

Husain began with a retrospective look at SparkCognition through the years.


“When we opened SparkCognition’s doors in 2013, we set out with the mission to solve the world’s most critical challenges with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing. In November 2018, we announced SkyGrid, a joint venture with Boeing dedicated to AI, autonomous flight, and airspace management. In May 2020, we launched SparkCognition Government Systems (SGS), a wholly-owned subsidiary devoted to delivering AI solutions to the defense and intelligence communities. In May 2021, we opened HyperWerx, a first-of-its-kind proving ground bringing together AI and the physical world. Today, nearly nine years later, we’re pleased to welcome you to Time Machine Interactive.”


According to Husain, the key to SparkCognition’s achievements to date—and what will continue to unlock the value of artificial intelligence for businesses and governments worldwide—is the company’s focus on perfecting and connecting the building blocks of AI that work together, including:


  • Vision systems with advanced scene and action recognition
  • Natural language systems that can respond, summarize, escalate, and recommend
  • Classification systems that can process, fuse, tag, and classify sensor data feeds
  • Prediction systems that can automatically forecast, alert, and recommend
  • Anomaly detection systems that can find problems without being trained
  • Explainability that enables action


Husain addressed residual skepticism of AI’s real-world benefits that can still crop up today—questions like ‘where is my autonomous power plant, zero safety incident factory, or hassle-free, rock-solid cybersecurity?’


“And when you go through these questions, what you’re really saying is ‘where is my better world?’ said Husain. “How can we apply AI to things that become real in the real world, things that you as a human being interact with? And how can these interactions become easier, more pleasant, and safer?”


Building a better world: layering AI on top of today’s infrastructure

He continued: “How can we infuse these with AI? Well, one of the challenges is that there’s $100T worth of infrastructure globally. So applying anything to that infrastructure that requires a rip-and-replace approach is just not going to happen. In my mind, AI is the only instrument through which this kind of intelligence could be overlayered on physical systems that already exist to make them better.”


SparkCognition, SparkCognition Government Systems, and SkyGrid have gained considerable traction with this approach, as Husain listed several top-line examples of making AI real for businesses and governments.


  • Visual AI deployed on 25,000+ cameras across 16 countries
  • Logistics AI used to move 3 billion barrels of oil globally
  • SkyGrid installed on 30,000 drones across 100+ countries
  • AI for renewables managing 8.5 GW of capacity
  • Sensor fusion tech deployed in one of the world’s largest maritime exercises
  • Maintenance AI servicing our F-16 fleet
  • Best-in-class predictive maintenance deployed on many of the world’s most productive oil rigs


Noting that the purpose of TMI22 was to showcase and demystify real-world use cases, demonstrations, and current conversations in the world of AI for industry, government, and defense, Husain encouraged the 300+ registrants to ground themselves in the problem-solution-outcome methodology that has worked well for SparkCognition. 


“If you approach us as partners and you say, okay, well, I have an infrastructure system, or, I have a process, or, I have a problem that I’d like to be able to automate and add intelligence to … how do I manage that? What we’ve done is we’ve focused on a foundation system that we can use to build our systems and that our partners can use to build and extend their systems as an example. These are building blocks that work together. And we now know that with the applications of AI layered on top of existing infrastructure, we can deliver tremendous results.”


“We can build a better world—literally, not figuratively—a system at a time. And that excites me more than anything else. That’s why I do this. That’s what motivates our team at SparkCognition, and I hope we’re able to get that across to you.”


We sincerely thank our partners, speakers, guests, and staff for making Time Machine Interactive a resounding success. Please watch this space for more blog recaps and videos from TMI22 in the coming days and weeks.

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