About our Journey: “People thought our idea was incomprehensible”

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Press image: Linda Åstrand, Dataföreningen Sundsvall

– People thought that our solution was completely incomprehensible during the first years – now people think that it is incredible that we have succeeded with what we do,  explained Fredrik Hammargården, one of Indivd’s co-founders at his speech at Dataföreningen Sundsvall.

Dataföreningen in Sundsvall has taken the initiative to start a two-day education in AI for the development of skills of leading people in Sundsvall’s business community. The education was fully booked and took place on the 28th of August. 

Among the invited speakers were also Fredrik Hammargården and Leonard Johard from startup company Indivd, who have developed a new technology for anonymized facial recognition, which is initially used to help traditional stores to gain a better understanding of their visitors.

One of the few real AI companies

The number of companies in Sweden that really apply AI in their offerings is few. Indivd is one of these companies.

– We have a very high AI competence in the team and we have worked with innovation and business development with the help of AI for many years now. However, our business development is not about AI, it is about developing an innovation. Something that is complex and involves many risks. A process that is primarily about understanding what you are trying to solve and why. Our development has not primarily been to develop anything with AI, but AI was the best tool for achieving our vision of understanding visitor behavior and at the same time maintaining integrity, explained Fredrik Hammargården, co-founder of Indivd.

A different approach in our business development

He went on to talk about Indivd’s business development.

– Although we are still under development, we have departed from the normal approach of how to build a startup. Of course, everyone wants to succeed but the reality is that most people fail because they try to avoid and navigate past every conceivable risk. We have shaped our own model, based on knowledge from many different startup journeys, where we focus on what we consider to be most relevant instead of putting energy into trying to avoid risks. A model that many may perceive as a bit unconventional.

Face recognition is of interest

Leonard Johard, PhD in machine learning, co-founder of Indivd and one of the world’s foremost experts in the latest AI technology Reinforcement Learning, then presented what face recognition really is, as well as anonymized face recognition and what differentiates the two technologies. There was great interest in these techniques and many questions.

Fredrik Hammargården added:

– When explaining our technology, we have gone from being somewhat incomprehensible to unbelievable. In the two-three years, people thought our technology was incomprehensible – now people think it is incredible that we have succeeded in what we do.

Important issues

A lot of discussions arose around AI and ethics.

– Ethics precedes technology at Indivd. We are admittedly a technology company, but we have chosen to put ethics first. If you intend to use such advanced technology as AI, which is so easy to abuse, then it is important that you make sustainable decisions in advance about how you should relate to and handle the technology, Fredrik Hammargården explained and concluded with three important questions everyone should face before developing new innovations:

  1. What can we do? How far ahead is technology today, what are the development opportunities?
  1. What are we allowed to do? What is possible to do on the basis of current legislation.
  1. What should we do? We need to ask ourselves what is ethically acceptable since technology development often precedes legislation. How do our ambitions align with ours and society’s values?

– We who are working on developing new solutions need to think about what the technology’s long-term consequences. Ultimately, these issues always result in a position on sustainability. What is the most sustainable approach? The answer to that question also contributes to creating the most long-term profitability. In our case, it was about not processing biometric data, not storing personal data and securing what companies use our technology for.

For more information contact:

Fredrik Hammargården, Head of Commercialization, 004673 840 65 27, fredrik@indivd.com

Leonard Johard, Head of AI & Lead Scientist, leonard@indivd.com

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