The everyday of Terkko Health Hub is filled with inspiring encounters, hard work and events ranging from workshops to networking. In addition for those who spend their every day at Terkko, the space offers a place to co-create and develop their businesses.
One of the hard working teams is Artific Intelligence, Terkko startup community’s newest addition. From the very first day here at Terkko Health Hub, Artific Intelligence’s team members have been active in our community – it’s like they’ve been here from the beginning.
We asked their CEO Tuomas Tikkanen some questions to get to know him and Artific Intelligence better.
Hi Tuomas, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi there! My name is Tuomas Tikkanen. I’m CEO and co-founder of Artific Intelligence. I love to visualize and model data. On my spare time, you can find me swimming, disc golfing, skateboarding, cycling or programming side projects.
You already mentioned Artific Intelligence there. What does your startup do?
We are a consultancy firm helping businesses achieve their mission with data-driven approaches. We intelligently solve their business problems with data science and machine learning methods. This involves developing predictive models using statistical methods.
What about your team?
Artific currently has five employees: three founders and two data scientists.
Masi, co-founder and the chief scientific officer, is currently pursuing his PhD in the bioimage analysis. Our third co-founder Juho is my elder brother and our chief business strategist and marketing expert.
Mikko, one of our data scientists, works from Tampere. He works part-time in the company and the rest of the time he engages in his PhD in computational neuroscience. Srikanth, our second full-time data scientist is an Aalto University graduate and a probabilistic machine learning expert. He loves to cook, write poems and play ukulele in his free time.
Ambition, enthusiasm and core ethical values are what glues us together. We are a team driven by the idea of social welfare through our services to companies.
What are you excited about at the moment?
Right now is the best moment to be alive as a human. Companies, both small and big, are realizing the potential of machine learning and the project requests and ideas which we receive from customers truly excites me.
Moreover, there is an incredible amount of research going on in the field of AI right now, which is producing state-of-the-art results in various fields and I do my best to keep up with it.
Coming to non-work aspects, I’m thrilled about the idea of going on a journey with the Trans-Siberian Railway.
You mentioned there, that Artific Intelligence solve business problems with data-driven approaches. What are the biggest challenges in using methods like machine learning?
Biased training data is one of the key issues in machine learning. All the data is sampled from our world that contains inequalities and noise. Without properly understanding and filtering the data, we can end up teaching the same faults to the machines.
Second, there is a greater need for developing interpretable machine learning models. Interpretable models help us understand the models’ weaknesses and help us prepare for the scenarios where these predictive models fail. A simple handwritten digit recognition task might not warrant such analysis but in life-changing tasks like self-driving cars and diagnosis prediction, explainability plays a critical role.
Third, a lot of training data is needed when creating accurate and well-generalized machine learning models. We humans, on the contrary, can learn abstract concepts by only looking at a few examples.
What has been the best moment of your startup journey? What about the most challenging one?
My startup experience has provided me with the freedom to design and build everything from scratch, which is the type of work I enjoy the most. One of the perks of the new job is that I get to travel to different places and meet people from various fields which wouldn’t have done otherwise.
The most challenging moments have been those that you can’t fully learn from textbooks but through experience. For me, such moments have been presenting in front of hundreds of people and negotiating terms of agreements.
What is your best advice to an aspiring startup entrepreneur?
Network and respect other people. You never know who is your next best customer. Focus. When you become an entrepreneur many people want your time. Learn to distinguish the opportunities worth your time.
Lastly, share us a fun fact about you! Something that we most likely have no idea of.
I have had a pretty colorful work history. Before landing first office job, I worked in the following positions: kindergarten assistant, restaurant kitchen assistant, assistant in a candle manufacturing, gas seller and refueller of boats in a harbor, shoe insole factory worker, parking line painter, newspaper seller, and a lawnmower.