Interview with AJ Abdallat, CEO at Beyond Limits

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with AJ Abdallat, CEO at Beyond Limits:

What does your company do?

Beyond Limits is a pioneering AI company with a unique legacy from the NASA space program, notably AI technology developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Beyond Limits drives new innovations and IP on our mission to bring advanced AI technology to solve commercial applications here on Earth. We enhance software systems developed for NASA/JPL, giving them additional capabilities and hardening them to industrial strength. We are an AI leader with breakthrough cognitive technology that goes beyond conventional AI, blending deep learning and machine learning tools together with symbolic AIs that emulate human intuition. This is what we call cognitive intelligence. Beyond Limits’ cognitive agents are trained and deployed to solve complex industrial and enterprise problems, bringing cognitive advantages to help energy, fin-tech, healthcare, and logistics companies stay competitive or transform their business for the future. The company was founded in 2014.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

Starting in 1998, I worked with Caltech/JPL to commercialize technologies developed at JPL, including smart sensors and artificial intelligence projects. Since then, I have founded several companies to bring innovative Caltech/JPL space technology to market, the latest of which is Beyond Limits.

Beyond Limits is the only AI company in the world attempting to bring advanced intelligence systems proven in extreme environments 150 million miles away in space, to extreme conditions 15,000 thousand feet underground for oil and gas production. Our technology has been to places where no other AI company could go, under conditions too extreme for others to master. I am extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to advance AI beyond conventional AI, applying our pioneering inventions and proven technologies from the space program to solve complex mission-critical business, industrial, and medical problems for companies here on earth.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

I see AI as a profoundly transformative capability that is going to have a
major impact on us as a society and on our business environment. Sundar
Pichai, Google CEO, stated recently that “AI is probably the most important
thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound
than electricity or fire.” I agree with Sundar. The biggest challenge in our
business is making sure that some of the overinflated hype about the
potential of AI (that unfortunately some companies are creating) doesn’t
turn off businesses and consumers. By contrast, we aim to be plain-spoken
and rational about the practical problems AI is best-suited to solve. Our
customers keep us grounded in the reality of their business needs.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

I feel very fortunate with my career as an entrepreneur. However, my advice to younger version of myself would be to enjoy the journey and have a more balanced business and personal life.