01/04/2019

The real AI revolution: Animal Intelligence

Technology

Your dog might be a better accountant than you.

TGS France Audit in Paris take innovation in automating accounting practice to new heights with the discovery of AI: Animal intelligence.

While the winners of the 2018 CNCC Audit Hackathon were introducing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to their i2020 cloud-based audit software, Ludwig, the team mascot, was picking up on mistakes in the accounts. It was as if the dog was reading the numbers and seeing things the auditors could not see.

Dogs have a vastly better sense of smell than most auditors … but a better sense of numbers? Barking mad? Maybe not.

Intelligent Audit was a winner but only the beginning for the i2020 team.

How did you end up with a dog in the office?

Completely by chance, really. Iris ALONSO, Chartered Accountant with TGS France/Intelligent Audit, Ludwig’s owner couldn’t find a dog-sitter and considering he is an ex-guide dog our team accepted him on the grounds that he would be like to be a good boy.  He spent the day with us and was very well-behaved until we started working on the books – testing our project. He would not stop barking and we thought he was  as annoyed by auditing as we were but it turned out he was actually alerting us to mistakes in our accounts.

Ludwig and Iris working at 70% improved efficiency

How is it possible that Ludwig – a dog – can audit?

As we said, Ludwig used to be a guide dog for the blind so he is used to contact with humans and understands our behavior. When auditors see a mistake it shows in their body language, Ludwig picks up on that and barks which speeds up the auditing process. It’s really truly amazing and our team has been using this A.I. (Animal Intelligence) to accelerate our processes. We couldn’t do without Ludwig now. We’ve been calling it Doggotic Accounting.

How has this impacted your business?

We have never been this efficient. We have integrated Ludwig into our daily workflow and our productivity has increased by at least 70% for auditing. This also leaves us more time to do other tasks that increase customer-satisfaction. Customers also like to come in and meet Ludwig.

We have more time now to be more transversal and it’s great fun to work hand-in-paw with a tool we would never have dreamt of.  Everyday we feel like we are in a science fiction movie. It’s like an episode of Black Mirror that has a happy ending! This discovery is changing our core-business, the impact is very positive, and we hope we can use A.I. (Animal Intelligence) in other domains such as consulting, tax advisory and commercial legal services but only time, and some research will tell.

What does this mean for the future of auditing?

It remains quite unpredictable, really, said Andrew Menzies, Vice President TGS Global (seen with Ludwig above), how this will impact the financial service and fintech sectors. Our team and partners have started talking about the new industrial wave 7.5. So, we are currently working towards using Ludwig and other dogs like him throughout our financial services and advisory products. The next step for us is to see how far this can scale, ideally we will  be able to internationalize the process and make Animal Intelligence accessible to all.

Will Animal Intelligence become the next big thing instead of Artificial Intelligence? Maybe.  As, Zach Weinersmith states in, Science: Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness, ‘Aristotle said a bunch of stuff that was wrong. Galileo and Newton fixed things up. Then Einstein broke everything again. Now we’ve basically got it all worked out, except for small stuff, big stuff, hot stuff, cold stuff, fast stuff, heavy stuff, dark stuff, turbulence, the concept of time and animal intelligence’.  So, there is probably a better business model than the one your are using at the moment and it might well involve animals.

There is probably a more efficient audit model than the one your are using at the moment and it might well involve animals.

Ludwig, TGS Audit Dog

I’m an accountant, how can I get involved to revolutionise my audit model with Animal Intelligence?

TGS is at the forefront of innovation in auditing, accounting and international financial services. We seize new opportunities that come out of unpredictable technological advancements. We will adapt and adopt AI and help our member firms become leaders of the pack in the provision of quality service to global entrepreneurs.

We need to do more research so we have teamed up with Squalus Acanthias Labs at the University of Paris XII run some experiments and we need your help. 

If you are an accountant or auditor and you have a dog you think might be a good accountant, please get in touch with our research team.

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