Leveraging the Power of AI with Ivan Drokin

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Ivan Drokin

Head of R&D, Ivan Drokin, shares insights from his career and delves into the future of AI. Read on to discover the journey behind his inventions, the challenges faced, and why he maintains a techno-optimistic outlook for the future with artificial intelligence.

Ivan Drokin's academic journey started in applied mathematics, where he centered on control theory and related areas. Around 2008, he took courses in machine learning, a burgeoning field at that time. That's where Drokin decided to translate abstract mathematical concepts into tangible solutions.

At that time, Drokin was experimenting with various algorithms, which laid the foundation for his future career of 15 years in artificial intelligence along with shaping his approach to problem-solving.

He kicked off his career at a small fintech startup, applying machine learning to analyze financial assets, before transitioning to the biotech sector. He immersed himself in drug discovery with a company dedicated to pharmaceutical drug development. Drokin's role involved tackling complex challenges, such as identifying drugs with optimal efficacy and minimal adverse effects, leveraging machine learning algorithms to enhance predictive modeling and streamline optimization processes.

Drokin highlights his tenure at botkin.ai as a defining chapter. Serving as Chief Research Officer for over 5 years, he played a pivotal role in steering the company toward innovations and achievements. Under his leadership, botkin.ai's projects spanned a wide spectrum, from revolutionizing lung cancer screenings to simplifying clinical trial data analysis. One notable accomplishment includes AI-powered analysis of CT scans, which allowed the team to identify hundreds of new lung cancer cases, underscoring the transformative potential of their work. Drokin's R&D team also created and patented groundbreaking solutions, including a novel methodology for analyzing lung CT scans. Those patented technologies have become the cornerstone of the company's product portfolio.

At his next position as Chief Science Officer with braingarden.ai, Drokin spearheaded projects that applied AI across various domains, including computer vision manufacturing and medical image analysis. Embracing state-of-the-art approaches like deep learning and domain adaptation, his projects garnered recognition from industry leaders, such as LG and Arrival.

Drokin was also recognized by the scientific community when he published scientific papers, which won Best Paper Awards at international conferences AIST, where he also served on the program committee.

"I believe that as intelligent beings, we have a global goal - to spread intelligence throughout the Universe. Therefore, any spread of knowledge is extremely important, from popularizing science to teaching in schools and universities", - said Drokin in an interview. "I am glad that I have the opportunity to speak at conferences, give popular science lectures, deliver speeches, and teach at some of the best universities." Currently, Drokin works at Prequel Inc. as the Head of Data Science, leading his team in developing methods for generating and stylizing photos and videos using modern generative models. They employ state-of-the-art approaches to create the best applications for photo editing.

As a techno-optimist, Ivan Drokin believes that technology, particularly rooted in AI, can enhance humanity's progress. "AI could allow us to solve many problems. Even the issue of unemployment isn't as dire. We humans possess one superpower: we are curious and can adapt at an incredible speed, unlike any other species on Earth. If AI were to take our jobs, albeit with some nuances, we could figure out something, like implementing a universal basic income, and just live, learn, and make things better.", - Ivan Drokin says.

Within the biotech domain, Drokin envisions AI as a catalyst for global scalability in solutions. Training lab technicians is easier than training doctors, whose work is hard to scale due to decades of experience, training, and certification requirements, even as the demand for doctors continues to grow. AI could help address this issue. While acknowledging the risks that AI carries, he believes that humanity can manage these challenges and harness all the benefits AI has to offer.

This article was first published on May 22, 2024