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Pakistani-American Starts Defense-Focused AI Company

RiazHaq

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Amir Husain, a Pakistani-American AI expert, has started a defense-focused artificial intelligence company, according to builtinaustin.com. Amir Husain's AI company SparkCognition has been building artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) software for its various clients since 2013. After closing on a $100 million Series C round last year, the company claims to be “one of the most valuable startups in Texas and one of the most valuable AI startups in the United States.” Earlier this year, Amir Husain and his wife Zaib, both University of Texas at Austin alumni, donated $5 million to launch "Artificial Intelligence Institute" at their alma mater.

Pakistani-American Couple Amir and Zaib Husain



“We started to develop software capabilities for a variety of (Department of Defense) clients and partners in the defensive industry,” founder and CEO Amir Husain said in a virtual event announcing the new company, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman. “We invented AI-powered weapon systems, prototyped a few and secured patents for many more. We have learned rich lessons and identified the shortcomings that prevent us now, as a country, from taking the lead in this critical new area.”

The new defense-focused AI company has announced several members of its board of directors who have served in high-ranking positions in the United States government. Most prominent among them are retired US Marine Corps General John Allen, former Air Force Under Secretary Lisa Disbrow, retired Navy Admiral John M. Richardson and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work.

Artificial intelligence is now being seen as the future of modern warfare. AI-powered networked drone swarms have recently been successfully deployed in Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and the Gulf region.

Defense analysts believe that Turkish and Israeli drones have helped Azerbaijan achieve decisive victory against Armenia. "Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare" says the Washington Post headline as tweeted by drone warfare expert Franz-Stefan Gady. In 2019, dozens of cheap drones were deployed against Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields to cut Saudi Aramco's production by half, according to multiple media reports. Saudi and US officials have blamed Iran for the destructive hit. This was the first time that cheap drone swarms loaded with explosives dodged sophisticated air defense systems to hit critical infrastructure targets in the history of warfare.

Amir Husain was born is Lahore, Pakistan in 1977. Husain enrolled in the Punjab Institute of Computer Science at the age of 15 and graduated from it two years later with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Amir is a serial entrepreneur. He has started and sold several companies. He started SparkCognition in 2013 with Michael Dell as its first investor.

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KaiserX

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AI/ML are the next frontiers. Pakistan needs to start investing in this now. Start institutes first which get students certified in AI/ML COT tech such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. All 3 cloud platforms have AI/ML services which even the DOD uses.

Get people familiar with current technologies and start building out our own national cloud which can support AI/ML services and development.
 

touela

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Great - but there should also be a market for that. Status quo is only a few military projects could benefit from it.

all banks should join together and start a common IT company which only creates financially systems and serves the demands from the banks. You can elaborate AI/ML in these systems to discover eventually frauds or abnormal behaviour.
 

RiazHaq

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How does drone warfare impact India’s preparedness?


With neighbours such as Pakistan and China, threat lies for India at any given point of time. Bolstering its military with the latest technology is the need of the hour, for which India has already been making moves in the combat drone/UCAV spectrum. The Indian Army is in possession of around 90 Heron Surveillance drones and the Harop loitering munition. Additionally, the army is planning to acquire more of these from Israel.

In August this year, the defence approved the upgrade of Heron UAVs. The upgrade will include arming some of these drones, sources in Indian security establishment said. The decision comes amid the India-China standoff as the Indian military is preparing to enhance its surveillance capabilities at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Heron UAVs are already being used in the forward areas of Ladakh.

India is also looking to expedite its testing of the indigenous surveillance drones ‘Rustom-2’ before inducting them into service.

During the defence expo in Lucknow in February this year, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) from Israel and Dynnamatic Technologies Limited signed an agreement for manufacturing of drones.

The Indian Army also opted for the SpyLite mini-UAV for high-altitude aerial surveillance. This is built by Cyient Solutions & Systems (CSS), a joint venture between Cyient Ltd (India) and BlueBird Aero Systems (Israel).

With the opening of the American drone market, India is also exploring the possibility of acquiring several GA-ASI MQ-9 Reapers from the US subject to approval.

Talking about threats from neighbours, Pakistan has a plethora of options to choose from if it decides to expand its already existing combat drone options. Both Turkey and China design and manufacture high-end drone equipment. On the other hand, India will hope to bank upon Israel and the US.

With regards to the use of combat drones in our part of the world (read India’s border with Pakistan and China) drone warfare may not be as successful as it was in the Armenian context. This is because both India and Pakistan have heavy air defence systems.


Unless India completely dominates the air warfare, drones may not be as successful when it comes to combat operations. The induction of Rafale may help India with this regard.

China is the bigger player when it comes to drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It has invested a lot of effort in developing civilian drones and the same has been translated into them developing combat drones. China is one of the leading countries when it comes to R&D concerning drone technology.

China also possesses anti-drone technology used to jam signals that disrupt drones or shoot incoming drones in order to divert or destroy them.


With China’s growing dominance in global drone market and Pakistan’s proximity with Beijing, India needs to quickly adapt to the changing game of drone warfare as it is likely to become even more prevalent in coming years.

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UCAVs also have a less carrying capacity compared to fighter jets. Hence, they are used in small but precise attacks rather than air-based raids that jets usually engage in. Azerbaijan used a new method of precision warfare that best compliments the use of such drones. This was only possible for rich and well-established militaries before, but now technology has made this more accessible to countries like Azerbaijan.

To name a few, countries with outstanding border conflicts include India, Pakistan, Serbia, Ukraine and many others. All these nations have already started purchasing attack drones and UCAVs.

The combat drone market can further explode by the Trump administration's push to deregulate their armed drone sales in a bid to allow the US manufacturers to compete in an export market dominated by China, Israel and Turkey.
 

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