Episode Synopsis:

Quickly diving into the shocking revelation that Tariq is not fond of Snickers chocolate, but not because he’s allergic to the nuts. Which of course swiftly digresses onto the topic of allergies before moving onto more intellectual chat like the importance of having a wider skill set as opposed to being a pro in one field. Tariq says it’s not particularly a black and white scenario. It’s subjective to the profession. The guys discuss the power of advertising. And how word of mouth will probably never go out of fashion. There’s something about taking a recommendation from someone you trust and buying into it just because they had a good experience. Tariq particularly singles out the power of Coca Cola advertising. For years they’ve chosen to market their brand on big platforms and in popular seasons during the year, be it during football leagues or Christmas holidays. Faisal reiterates that he admires the strategy of Coca Cola, because they’ve invested a lot into brand awareness that doesn’t necessarily make sense as a direct return on investment, but as a result of implementing this approach for decades, they’ve managed to secure a long term strategy. They’ve essentially built a lifestyle around their brand.

A heavy chunk of this episode centres around the Apple and Google dynamic. Did you know, Android, owned by Google is actually available for any company to use for their hardware? Apple has created their own operating system. Whereas companies like Samsung, take the Android operating system and add on their own elements. They have their own widgets and add to the Android basic. “What is the next big thing big tech corporations shouldn’t miss out on?”, asks Faisal. A tough answer for both Tariq and Abdul-Rahman, but they both believe the products might “die”, so to speak, but the companies themselves will always be relevant. Something Google will always be useful for according to Abdul-Rahman, is being able to ask a medical question for example and get a very good answer. There are some companies that are already looking into automating medical imaging for example for breast cancer screening. From a medical perspective, which is possibly diving into the deep-end, there are a lot of things that can be automated but to what extent? That is the real question. With regards to Covid testing, last year it was only an idea of whether testing in 15 minutes is even a possibility, and now one year later, this exists.

Likewise, this is the way a lot of things are headed in our day to day lives. A scandal in Silicon Valley that happened years ago, where the idea was that one could do a finger prick test and just a drop of blood would give information on all your conditions, and it would be miraculous. The lady behind this idea raised a lot of money to push for this project, and actually became a billionaire, but only to end very quickly when it became apparent that such technology doesn’t exist and this idea isn’t possible. All her results were false claims.

Faisal believes during the times we live in now, apart from a Shirk perspective, if you can dream it you can achieve it. As cliche as that may sound, things we can do today in terms of technology were unheard of a couple of decades ago. Abdul-Rahman argues that whilst that is true, one element that artificial intelligence can never incorporate is the soul and the essence of consciousness. Which means we need to always be aware as Muslims especially. Tariq further emphasises this point with the problem companies are having with regards to artificial intelligence incorporated into their products. He uses the example of adapting self driving cars, where you have to make the conscious decision of killing the driver or the person on the road. Nobody should really be able to make these decisions but the reality is people do have this authority. So it’s imperative that we as Muslims put Islam at the forefront of our actions, where we know that no situation gives us the right to play the role of God. But it’s also important to exercise this notion of Deen before dunya even in the smallest of decisions, such as driving your car but not listening to anything haram in it.

Mufti Munir shared a lesson once which Faisal explains. He said if someone asks a question of how they can become the biggest coffee business in the world being a Muslim? Being the biggest coffee brand in the world means having to compete with top brands the likes of Starbucks, Costa etc. So at some point it would be expected for you to sell haram sandwiches as they do. Something that is not from Islam. Mufti Munir’s response was that yes a Muslim should strive to achieve his best, however, the Muslim should understand that just because of his religion itself, there are some things that perhaps he just cannot partake in. And he should be ok with that. His goal is to be a Muslim, so maybe there’s only so far you can go. Faisal says he’s applied this to how can Freshly Grounded reach greater heights in the mainstream? But there has currently always been an obstacle in the way from achieving that which does not sit well with the principles Freshly Grounded has been built upon. After hearing the Mufti’s advice, Faisal felt maybe it’s ok not be known by the whole world. Maybe FG can become the big fish in a small pond, as long as Islamic ethics are not lost. Understanding the sensitivity of having a small group be loyal to you requires great responsibility. It’s easy to feel tempted to push for growth in numbers at the expense of the foundations that built the platform. So the guys unanimously advise that it’s important to constantly renew your intentions and also be accountable to each other. Put yourself in the mind of the audience to think about what they want as opposed to what you want.