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Meet our team: Ion Marqués

Today we’re going to get to know Ion Marqués a little better. Ion is a computer engineer and machine learning researcher who recently joined the Sciling team.  What has your career been like in the vast world of artificial intelligence? What do you think about advances in AI within Spain and abroad? What are you going to do at Sciling, and why have you decided to join this family of professionals? 

Let’s take a look.

“One of the aspects of the health sector where we’ll see great progress in the coming years is in improving patients’ experience. With AI, it will be possible to provide better medical care and improve the health system as a whole, generally.”

Ion Marqués Sciling

Tell us a little about yourself and your career

I’m a computer engineer and I did a master’s degree plus a thesis on topics related to artificial intelligence, specifically on neural networks, artificial vision and biometrics (people recognition). After finishing the thesis, I immediately went to work in the industry.”

“Throughout these years, I’ve had jobs concentrating on data engineering and applications architecture, where big volumes of data had to be managed, as well as carrying out programming and research tasks.” 

“I’ve worked in various areas: predictive maintenance with rolling stock, wind energy, developing recommendation engines, etc. Most recently, in my latest phase, I’ve been focussing on the healthcare sector, specifically in research and development into virtual assistants.

And in five years?

I believe we’ll continue with this process of expansion and that we’ll be able to tackle the challenges involved in introducing AI into society. Over the next five years, we’ll see how AI expands into new areas, specifically into more traditional economic sectors, and whether there’ll be stricter laws and regulations.” 

“I believe that as society gains a greater understanding of the great impact this technology can have, it will be easier to move forward in the social and ethical aspects involved in using it. There is growing interest in AI from users and government bodies in ensuring that people’s rights aren’t abused on using it. For example, diversity should be ensured in AI systems, AI processes should be explainable, and their use of data should be transparent.

You have just been involved in a project concentrating on improving healthcare through AI. What opportunities do you see for AI in the sphere of healthcare?

It’s true that artificial intelligence has gradually made its way into certain areas of the healthcare sector, and that some medical procedures that involve AI have already become established, such as robotic surgery. I’m sure that in future we’ll be able to implement AI in new medical areas and that we’ll create new tools for specific uses in medical work.”

“That said, one of the aspects of the health sector where we’ll see great progress in the coming years is in improving patients’ experience. With AI, it will be possible to provide better medical care and improve the health system as a whole, generally.”

“For example, it will be possible for a medical centre to be able to assist a greater number of patients, and for those patients to have longer, more personalised medical consultations. What’s more, we can reduce the bureaucratic workload for medical and administrative staff, freeing them from taking on tedious, repetitive tasks. Hence, people will get easier access to quality medical care, and health professionals will be able to concentrate exclusively on providing it.

What use cases do you find most interesting?

Today, there is constant research into specific applications of artificial intelligence for specific improvements within the healthcare sector. For example, one of my research articles looked at the use of medical imaging to implant prostheses. They are small cannulas placed in veins and arteries near the heart in case there’s a possible cardiac event. They’re used to redirect blood flow, widen a vein or cover up holes. The prostheses are inserted folded up into the bloodstream, and then unfolded to carry out their purpose.” 

“There are also very interesting applications as regards artificial vision. Using this technology, we can analyse a lot of medical cases, such as studying the capillaries of the retina, for example. Not only that, but there are great advances in the use of voice assistants to help doctors in their everyday work. By now, we are all very used to using our voice to interact with technology these days. Hence, I believe that advances in this area will transform the healthcare sector in general, not only in specific aspects.

What are you going to be doing in Sciling?

I’ve joined Sciling to head a project geared towards applying artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector. My tasks here involve applying all of my experience in a project involving two public bodies that are very keen to create virtual assistants.”

“The idea is to assess what capacity we have to develop systems one can interact with in various ways, and which will act as a preliminary gateway to the healthcare system for the general public.

Can you tell us something about the project you’re directing?

In this project, the main aim is to build tools that will involve great difficulty in terms of engineering and AI, but which will help patients to get better care. To do so, we’ll be concentrating on creating assistants with which we can interact via voice and text to help us, for example, to get a preliminary consultation with our GP.”

“Furthermore, we want these tools to be able to help patients improve their health. The goal is for them to be able to lend us a hand in giving up addictions, leading a more active and less sedentary lifestyle, etc. Also, they should be able to give us the necessary resources if we find ourselves in a situation of unwanted loneliness.”

“To sum up, the idea is to create tools intended to alleviate or solve real problems that affect people. By the way, one very interesting feature of this project is that we’re not talking about a private body. It’s a public project whose aims have arisen from the real needs found in hospitals and health centres. I’m sure we’ll be able to create tools that will be used to improve people’s lives.

Why did you choose Sciling?

The factor that set Sciling apart from the rest for me was the human team they have, and their professional culture. I intuited this during the interviews, and in the months that I’ve been with the company I’ve confirmed that I wasn’t mistaken: the Sciling team’s professionalism and capabilities are excellent. Moreover, the company culture that Sciling has been building is perfectly in line with my own values.

You might leave Sciling if…?

Honestly, I haven’t thought about that. I came here to help build things, so I’m not thinking about destroying anything, or about what would have to happen for me to leave Sciling. It’s very easy to destroy things; anyone can do that. The challenge is to build things, and my brain is 100% focussed on doing that here at Sciling.

Finally, can you give us any gossip about yourself? Any hidden secrets?

I don’t have much to tell, really. I have a two-year-old boy, and what I want to do most right now is to travel. After what happened with the pandemic, I really miss travelling, seeing new places, drifting around the world and visiting friends.

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