Coworking: Karim Galil wants to use AI to create ‘a doctor’s brain at scale’

“We live in an era where we’re swimming in data but starving for information,” the CEO and co-founder of the AI healthcare company said.
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Karim Galil

· 5 min read

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

There’s an expression that I like to use: It’s a bit like “walking in the valley of death while chewing on glass.” That gets at the gritty reality and the thrill of what we do at Mendel AI. On a more practical level, my job is finding ways to program machines to approximate the intricate thought processes of a doctor’s brain at scale. To achieve our goals, I surround myself with incredibly smart data scientists and clinical experts.

Our team, which is primarily based in the US, is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in healthcare AI. My job ‌is about fostering a culture of collaboration where every team member, regardless of their role, feels integral to the process. It’s about ensuring they see the value and purpose in their work, especially after months of developing and tweaking models. When these models finally start working, it’s a testament to the collective effort and a moment of validation for everyone involved.

What’s the most compelling tech project you’ve worked on, and why?

The most compelling tech project I’ve worked on, without question, is Mendel AI.

We live in an era where we’re swimming in data but starving for information, as vast amounts of clinical data exist, yet extracting actionable insights remains a formidable challenge. This paradox was the catalyst for Mendel AI. Our goal is to develop a domain-specific AI capable of navigating the complexities of medical data, transforming it into clear and actionable insights. We are enabling a data-driven approach to healthcare that moves beyond the subjective opinions of physicians and integrates all the information we have on hand to make a robust recommendation.

Launching Mendel AI embodies the essence of using technology to solve real-world problems, reinforcing my passion for making a significant, positive difference in healthcare.

What technologies are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

What really excites me is the fusion of machine learning and neural networks with symbolic AI. At Mendel, this coupling represents the best of both worlds, enabling us to leverage the strengths of each approach while compensating for their respective weaknesses. It’s like having a team where each player brings a unique skill set; together, they’re unstoppable. This hybrid model aligns closely with our ambition to mimic the complexity and versatility of the human brain in our AI systems.

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On the flip side, I’m quite skeptical about approaches that rely solely on a single model, be it just machine learning, neural networks, or symbolic AI alone. After all, the human brain doesn’t operate on a single mode of thinking; it’s a marvel of arithmetic, intuitive, and emotional processing all at once. To create AI that truly mimics this multifaceted performance, we need a blend of technologies. A person who’s only logical or driven by emotion doesn’t represent the full spectrum of human intelligence.

What’s the best tech-related media you read/watch/listen to?

Axios stands out for me primarily because of its unique “Why it matters” section. This concise format lets me grasp the essence of the story quickly without needing to delve into the full article unless I find something that piques my interest further. This feature is incredibly useful given the fast-paced nature of both technology and my day-to-day responsibilities.

What’s something about you we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile?

I’m an avid kitesurfer. I’ve actually thought about taking this passion a step further by starting my own surf shop one day. While there are many great locations worldwide for kitesurfing, Egypt holds a special place in my heart. When I get to visit our Egypt team, I make sure to also get on the water and catch a few waves.

What do you think about when you’re not thinking about tech?

When I’m not thinking about technology, my thoughts often drift toward the future, regarding adaptation and social well-being, especially when I look at my kids. I remember when I was 5, dreaming about owning a CD player, and comparing it to now, where my iPhone, which is essentially a minicomputer, fulfills that role and more. It’s fascinating to think about how life will be for my children 20 years down the line.

I think about how people, my kids included, will navigate this ever-evolving landscape while preserving their social lives. It seems there’s an inverse relationship between technological advancement and social interaction; as one increases, the other tends to decrease. Given that health encompasses both physical and social well-being, this trend toward diminishing social interaction is concerning, so we need to consider how we’ll maintain our social health amid such rapid change. This balance between embracing innovation and preserving our social fabric is what occupies my thoughts outside the realm of technology.

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Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.