Meet Mats Kvarnström: <br>“I want my AI expertise to be used for a good cause”

Meet Mats Kvarnström:
“I want my AI expertise to be used for a good cause”
2023-01-20 Paliscope

How would you describe yourself as a person?

Curious is the first word that pops up. I like to challenge myself and learn new stuff. At the same time, I tend to dive deep into certain subjects. That probably explains why I pursued a PhD in Mathematical Statistics. One could probably summarize me as being very passionate about all of my undertakings, both personally and professionally. I am also a very social and, one might say, extroverted person. I enjoy interacting with other people, as well as giving presentations and being on stage in general.

What is your role at Paliscope?

My role here is Head of AI. This means I oversee the mathematical/analytical components in our products, and ensure that we use suitable tools for the different tasks. It is not always the latest and the greatest tool that is needed but, sometimes, it is enough to do something well enough and most suitable for solving a specific task. I also keep an eye out for new findings from the research area and assess if and how they could make their way into the product. Examples of this include speech to text and semantic image search, both of which have made leaps in the past couple of years in the research community.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Before coming here, I worked at Recorded Future as a technical lead for the computer vision team. Before that, I worked at Zenuity (now Zenseact), the autonomous driving company owned by Volvo Cars, where I worked on the automatic generation of maps in cloud, given sensor data (camera, lidar, radar) from a fleet of cars. I have also worked at AstraZeneca and Fraunhofer-Chalmers for Industrial Mathematics.

What first sparked your interest in the field of data analysis and AI?

I have worked in the field of data analysis and modeling (“AI”) in various capacities and within a wide range of applications during my entire professional career. Coming to Paliscope is the first time I’ve switched companies but stayed within the same field of application. I want my expertise within AI to be used for a good cause, and to work within the field of open source intelligence is definitely something that am passionate about.

(Also, as a kid, I read all the books by Tom Clancy about the CIA analyst character Jack Ryan. Working as a mathematician within the field of intelligence is the closest I can get to what Jack Ryan is doing ☺.)

Why did you decide to start working at Paliscope?

Working at Paliscope is a perfect match according to me, since I have analysis experience within the field of cyber and open-source intelligence, and since I know a lot of people within the Gothenburg branch of the company. I also have a history within NetClean; I was part of the team together with Christian that laid out the foundations for NetClean before it became NetClean. However, back then, 2004-2005, I was a newly baked PhD, and there was not much advanced analytics going on within NetClean, so Christian and I said that we’d get together again when there was something for me to do. And now, 17 years later, that time has come!

“I have already experienced the higher-level approach here, of taking on tasks as a team rather than as a set of individuals.”

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on how to incorporate speech to text and speech biometrics (recognition of who is speaking) into YOSE. This would enable searching within spoken material (e.g., phone surveillance material, interrogation material, and video streams) and tagging persons across and within these sources.

What’s the best part of working at Paliscope?

Apart from doing good and working with a lot of familiar faces, I enjoy working at a smaller company that has a very good and positive work atmosphere. I have already experienced the higher-level approach here, of taking on tasks as a team rather than as a set of individuals.

Where can we find you when you’re not at work?

With my family of three kids and my wife. Or on long walks with our dog. We also have three cats, but they mostly sleep and eat. When I am not doing any of these things, you will probably find me playing a guitar, either alone or with one of my two bands. Playing (and listening to) music is my true passion, outside of family and professional stuff.

What’s a fun fact we might not know about you?

There is an incredulous, but true, story about me getting bit by a shark (a dogfish) in the middle of an (in)famous snow storm in Gothenburg in November 1995. It caused a lot of amusement at the Sahlgrenska hospital when I came in stinking of fish with an arm wound inflicted by a shark. It also caused a lot of amusement among my friends, and still does.