Finland aims to become one of the top AI players within the next years by developing a program, which makes collaboration easier in between companies, researchers, educational institutions and public organizations.
To continue with the craze, we decided to interview Ville Hulkko at Maria 01, so he could tell us a bit more of his motivation to become an entrepreneur and help us understand a bit more the craze for AI. Ville is the Co-Founder of Silo.AI and has also been a Co-Founder of the video recognition AI solution, Valossa.
Q: How did it all begin for you?
“I come originally from Oulu. I studied at the University of Oulu where as a student, I did everything else, except studying. After my first year of studies, I went into founding my first company — and ad agency. A few years later a computer vision 3D body scanning technology to measure clothing.”
While in University, Ville was very active in the startup scene, especially Oulu’s entrepreneurship society. Through that community, he met a research group then called “Personal Content Channel” — which would later become Valossa. During that time, he and some other business people met in order to commercialize Valossa and give it a good e-framework.
Q: What was your motivation to join Valossa?
“I come from an entrepreneurial family/ background. Basically, I discovered that I was very good at starting up.“
Ville wasn’t the original founder of Valossa — it was Dr. Miika Rautiainen. It was by chance that Ville met the team initially. While he didn’t understand what it all was at first, to him it sounded really interesting. For him, taking that leap into the unknown is what led him to study Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies.
Q: What is the relationship between Silo.AI and Valossa?
“Silo.AI is a collection of top researchers, engineers and academics of machine learning and computer vision. Basically, what silo builds is AI as a service. Valossa is a multi-model AI platform.“
Silo.AI creates customized AI driven solutions for clients — consultancy is a part of their business. Silo AI needs to consult in order to get the customer to buy as there is a lot of hot air on the topic. Valossa’s platform is more of a concrete AI product which takes video and recognizes what is inside the video, such as objects, places, people and can also recognize facial expressions. While both solutions differ from each other, it was around Valossa’s time when it was difficult to create solutions that didn’t even exist — so Ville decided to try a different approach.
Q: How difficult has it been to approach people that have no idea what AI can do for business?
“Every single CEO in the world wants AI in their business, but very few know what it is.“
80% of Silo.AI sales work goes into educating their customers by going in and using Silo.AI knowledge of AI plus the company’s knowledge of their business — which helps find the sweet spots to solve problems in their business. Silo.AI puts most of their focus into building very pragmatic solutions that customers can easily understand.
Q: Is there currently a lead player for AI and what is your favorite solution/product?
“I wouldn’t say there is a leader right now, there is just various pathways.“
Ville suggests that Google.ai, IBM Watson, and Amazon AWS, are all AI toolkit providers. To him, this means that for people that are not Ph.D in Machine Learning, can take these tools and build AI solutions outside of them. Then, you also have organizations that build very fundamental AI products — however, it all comes down to the tool for a specific purpose.
Last year, when Ville attended TechCrunch Disrupt he discovered a company that is developing a platform to analyze the gaming styles of top E-Sports players, give you feedback and improves your play.
Q: How do you teach people/customers AI and can anyone learn it?
“In order to build a commercially viable successful AI driven product for any industry, a lot of the time the first step is to create an interface in which a human and a machine can learn from the interactions with the human.“
Ville explained that at this point machine learning for organizations is mainly a tool that automates some of the mundane tasks humans do. However, that it does get interesting once you start automating numerous tasks, which takes everything to a whole new layer of intelligence.
Ville also believes that anyone with a coding/programming background can learn AI. In fact, one of the ways in which they currently operate is that if they recruit engineers with limited experience they will train them for 6 months. If you are interested, you can check their open positions.
Q: What comes next for Ville and Silo.AI?
Silo.AI moved into Maria 01 only a few months ago and Ville’s next move will be hosting AI driven meetups at Maria 01.
“We believe that the more startups collaborate together the better. We want to start combining this discussion about machine learning with each other.”
We will keep you posted of this future meetups Silo AI will be hosting at Maria 01 — hopefully sometime this year already. Make sure to check out Silo.AI online and learn more about all their awesome solutions.
Sweet thanks to Ville!
Silo.AI is the largest AI solution and service provider in the Nordics that offers scalable expertise in machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing. Silo.AI strongly believes in the future of human-centered AI solutions to provide strategic assets to the core business of its customers in a measurable, safe and explainable way.