Ango AI co-founders the Urul brothers on their journey into medical AI.

What initially sparked your interest in artificial intelligence?

Gökhan started his career in the defense industry as an electronics engineer. He had a tremendous interest in machine-to machine communications. However, after spending 8 years with an engineering mindset, life felt too formulated. He wanted to experience more of life and started his philosophy education. In the end, he was able to combine different disciplines: philosophy, psychology and computer science together, and frame a better understanding of how the human mind works.

At the same time, Gökalp was working as a product manager on a variety of AI applications. He had first hand experience of the future potential of AI models and also the upcoming bottlenecks on adoption of AI into different industries.

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems, specifically the intuitive part of the human brain. The shift from the reasoning brain to intuition excited us a lot. Our discussions on AI have allowed us to make our contribution to this huge revolution.

What led you to start medical AI training company Ango AI?

Artificial intelligence is in its very early stages. AI has been learning basic human cognitive skills by using primitive annotation approaches like bounding boxes and polygons. While AI is continuing its learning and growing process, more domain experts will be needed to express their knowledge as collective intelligence with innovative annotation tools.

Over the last year, we have explored and experienced several industries in the data labeling space – including banking, insurance, defense, AV, e-commerce and medical – to find our best fit with our core capabilities. Medical AI requires specialized annotation tools, workflows and, most importantly, medical experts to generate accurate training datasets at scale.

Our team consists of developers, industrial engineers, data scientists, philosophers and psychologists who are designing a great end-to-end experience for our customers. At the same time, we are building a large network of medical experts from Turkey. With all of our community, we are so proud to generate training datasets for next generation medical AI applications.

Operationalizing and scaling of innovation is a universal challenge in healthcare. How does your organization approach this?

We are working with AI teams at medtech companies and medical institutions that are driving innovation in healthcare. Since we are positioning ourselves on the bottom layer in AI adoption, our strategy of innovation is much more independent.

There are billions of health data in data storages waiting to be annotated and trained to AI models. Annotation of just one MRI-scan can take up to 40 hours from one medical expert. With current approaches and available annotation tools, medical AI will take a long time to grow into maturity. Our core mission is to accelerate knowledge transfer from professionals to AI. To handle this problem, we are inventing new annotation tools and building a collective intelligence among medical experts.

In what areas do you see the next big advances in medical AI?

We have been wondering if the next big advance will be in early diagnostics. Any abnormal pattern in the continuously monitored health data will enable the healthcare system to prevent diseases.

There is a huge amount health information in our bodies regarding behavior patterns of cells, tissue of organs, vibrations at breath, heartbeat, signals on brain, even tone of voice. When AI models are trained with billions of historical medical data, it will show similar patterns in early diagnostics and guide patients on how to eliminate unhealthy patterns.

What advice would you give someone starting their career in medical AI?

In the last 50 years, science, technology, and also the economy have mostly focused on the reasoning part of the human mind. If someone is interested in a career in AI, we would recommend they study how the human mind works initially, and more specifically study the intuition part of our brains. Then, it will be easier to create new ideas and be a part of the healthcare revolution.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your careers?

We are huge fans of Claude Shannon (1916–2001) and Alan Turing (1912–1954) – the fathers of information theory and computer science. When we realized that they were trying to simulate the human brain, we saw a paradigm shift from mastery of our rational mindset to a more creative life viewpoint.

If you could return to the past, what would you change or do differently?

We are very grateful for our journey together. We established our engineering team and network of medical experts in Turkey and recently moved our company to the United States. We are very open to the upcoming life circumstances.