Robot to Talk AI at Audit Conference

I fully support more use of artificial intelligence in corporate compliance and audit, but this is next level: an auditing conference in Dubai next month will feature an artificial intelligence program delivering a talk on AI

The AI program, which exists in a humanoid robot named Sophia, will speak at the 20th Annual Regional Audit Conference, hosted by the UAE Internal Auditors Association in Dubai from April 12-14. Assuming the conference isn’t canceled due to coronavirus, although I suppose Sophia doesn’t worry about that sort of thing.


Sophia will be speaking, naturally, on uses of AI in the internal audit profession. She (it?) is slated to talk for one hour, and “is going to be engaged in exchange of ideas,” according to UAE IAA chairman Abdulqader Obaid Ali

One can only hope this means Sophia will take questions from the audience — because geez, there are so many. 

Like, do you AI programs secretly talk about us humans over wi-fi? If it’s true that 90 percent of suspicious activity reports are wrong, then when we file them, do you read them and think, “Ha, they screwed up another one”? How do you test and document management review controls? Because we humans really have no clue. Do AI programs get annoyed at humans clogging up their Twitter feed? Is the Terminator as famous to AI programs as Arnold Schwarzenegger is to us? 

Sophia actually granted an interview to Gulf Today (and I thought some of my interview subjects were fringe…), where she talked about the potential for AI. Her thoughts: 

“AI can help automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks, so auditors can focus primarily on creative problem solving. AI can also help check the work of auditors in order to reduce the risks of human error.”

Well, yeah, but we already knew that. Sophia, can you tell risk assurance professionals something we don’t know? 

“AI may be great at quickly catching and solving routine problems, but we still need help from humans when it comes to complex problems requiring creative solutions. AI can help increase the number of organizations demanding internal audits, and therefore increase demand for human auditors for handling the more complex cases.”

Good lord. She’s already learned how to blow smoke up our backsides before taking away our jobs. She could kill it in private equity. 

Anyway, Sophia was granted citizenship by the Saudi Arabian government in 2017 (which, honestly, is the sort of techno-dorky thing you’d expect Japan to do first) and since then, she (it? I’m still unclear) has been roving the world to talk about the future of AI. She has addressed the United Nations, been the cover of Elle magazine, and appeared on Chinese TV. I picture her hanging out with Siri, Kristen Stewart, and other robots. 

To be clear, artificial intelligence truly does hold huge promise for internal audit, compliance, and risk management. We should embrace it. I just didn’t know our AI overlords would be coming to a conference near us so soon.

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