SparkCognition Founder and CEO Amir Husain Talks Humanity and AI on the “Stories in AI” Podcast


In a recent conversation on the podcast “Stories in AI,” SparkCognition Founder and CEO Amir Husain gave an overview of how companies should be scaling for AI and how adopting AI technologies in certain industries will make invaluable contributions to global infrastructure. Husain opened the conversation by stating, “There are so many things that you can apply this technology to today. I think that organizations that take the lead in taking the technology as it exists today, and creating this internal organization structure that allows them to apply this technology at scale will be the winners of this round.”

Adopting AI Technology in Challenging Industries

Podcast host Ganesh Padmanabhan began by asking Husain why he focused on industries that are not often early adopters of new technologies, such as infrastructure or automobile companies. Husain noted that these are the crucially essential industries for improving living conditions and environmental stewardship, and these are the fields that mattered most to him. This decision naturally came with some hardship, as these industries have very entrenched ways of doing things and have been around for a long time with the technology that they already have. “You’re essentially coming to them as not a domain expert in their area but as somebody that’s bringing the new technology to apply to their domain, and you’re asking them to look at things differently,” Husain noted.

However, these difficulties can be overcome through valuable products, repeatability, and proven systems. In the end, the reason these industries continue to adopt AI is not that it’s some kind of new and exciting technology, but simply because it’s the smart thing to do on a pure business level. “In many ways, that becomes the incremental argument for new customers to get on the adoption wave,” Husain added. “It all comes back to how to create relationships, solve problems, and earn their trust to come back and do more.”

Humanity in the Age of Machines

Padmanabhan then steered the conversation toward humanity’s role within the age of machines: “If we assume that all of our jobs can be done by machines, what is the use of humans?” Husain provided an optimistic response: “For all we know, the human brain is the ultimate machine in the universe, and it has unparalleled cognitive capacity. We have no evidence anywhere in the universe of anything this marvelous and miraculous existing.”

If we can understand humanity’s main purpose as using our brains, we can shift our focus to understanding the universe as an idea-verse. In this scenario, our cognitive faculty is devoted to uncovering ideas that have not yet been discovered. This becomes a matter of perspective rather than speed. Husain continued, “The validity of perspective and the unique ability to uncover ideas simply because you are different, that you think in a different way, or that you are in a different idea-space–all of this still holds, even in the age of machines. And this is tied to human purpose.”

Scaling AI in Business

Padmanabhan probed Husain for advice on scaling AI in organizations and for guidance for entrepreneurs to round out the conversation. Regarding scaling AI in your organization, Husain recommended scaling as fast as you can: “Any downsides in going fast are essentially trivial compared to the losses you will see if you don’t get up to speed with AI. So go full speed ahead and adopt this technology.” Husain also advised against the belief that anything created outside of one’s organization won’t have value for their organization. Not every company will be able to build out a dedicated AI team, so leaders should be willing to operate within partnership orientations.

Husain then identified three primary tips for entrepreneurs:

  • Be sure you are genuinely passionate about what it is that you’re doing.
  • Read as much as you can, and read broadly.
  • Develop your skills. Understand enough technology to be credible, and be very connected to and competent in what you’re doing.

In conclusion, Husain recommended that aspiring entrepreneurs have to be very honest with themselves and ask, “If I’m not selling and I’m not building, then what am I doing?”

Check out the full episode of the podcast!

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