Humans are generating data at an unprecedented rate. With so much of our day-to-day decisions and purchases happening online, data has become a viable indicator of our thinking and decision making processes. It is already being used to target specific ads to us each individually, as well as to recommend clothes, music, and entertainment that we will probably enjoy.
We also live in perhaps the most technologically advanced period in human history. Computers continue to solve increasingly complex problems while being built smaller and smaller. The marriage between computers and our treasure trove of data could not be any more convenient.
This climate has created immense optimism in fields of medicine, economics, governance, education, and gaming. Never before could we make as informed decisions and hypotheses and then test them on a grand scale over a short period of time.
The gaming industry, in particular, has benefited from an increasingly online world. The online gaming industry is booming and looks like the entertainment medium of choice for future generations.
Part of what is bringing players online is that it is an increasingly curated space. Complex algorithms help to bring you the latest options for games to play and communities to be a part of. These algorithms use data collected from your decisions to inform the recommendations. Anyone who has spent hours on YouTube or Spotify will know that these algorithms can be very accurate at predicting things you will like.
The technology behind these algorithms is part of the evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI). AI computer systems are built to mimic human intelligence in decision-making environments. It’s no surprise that AI is being explored in the online gaming world, in particular, online casinos.
AI in table games
Almost all casino games involve wagering money on the odds of an outcome. Knowing when to bet, and how much, is an age-old question for those who play. It is now also a question for computers as well.
Researchers are developing AI software that can play live casino games just like humans, if not better. The results from experiments have been astounding and brought fresh ideas about AI’s potential use in society.
The reason that researchers are using online games as test cases is because the decisions that are made in this environment are made with imperfect information. In other words, you only have some of the information available when you make your decision.
In a live roulette game, you know that the table has numbers and colours, but what you don’t know is how the ball will land. You might know the odds and probability but you don’t know the precise way and speed that the ball will be released. In comparison, a game like chess is a perfect information game, where you can see all of the pieces on the board before you make your decision.
Artificial intelligence and online poker
With the evolution of online games, researchers have the perfect environment to test AIs with imperfect information games. A great example of this was Libratus, a poker AI developed by Carnegie Mellon University in 2017. Libratus played 120,000 hands of poker against four of the world’s top poker players over the course of three weeks.
Libratus finished the experiment with a resounding victory over the group. Were the Carnegie Mellon researchers secretly excellent at poker? No, Libratus was only programmed with an algorithm to play imperfect information games, not with a specific poker strategy. The AI learned as it played, both from the other players and from its own weaknesses. In this way, it developed the best technique to beat the other players.
The ability to Libratus to self-reflect and patch holes in its own strategy ensured that it could adapt faster than the humans involved. The human players would find a flaw in Libratus’ strategy and exploit it until it was patched by the AI. Conversely, the humans could self-reflect on their own flaws, but not with as accurate a data set and logical processor.
As time went on, players tried to bet higher amounts to find unpatched gaps in Libratus’ strategy. These big bets were objectively a bad poker strategy. Ultimately it didn’t pay off.
The experiment gave an insight into how AI could interact with humans. AI can learn quicker than human players and it could encourage astronomical bets from players searching for unpatched flaws.
Online casinos of the future
The Libratus experiment showed us AI has the potential to be the ultimate online gamer. What this means is that whoever owns a powerful AI like Libratus, could win big consistently.
This could lead to online spaces demarcated for AI vs AI, AI vs human, and human vs human gaming. It could be too unfair to have an AI play against casual and professional players.
If an AI vs AI space is created, you could find developers going head to head with their AI bots to see who has the strongest algorithm. Alternatively, you could find players who have spawned multiple AI bots, who they set up to play games on multiple platforms as a passive form of income.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is already certain: AI computers can play online games extremely well.
The world of online casinos is not limited to table games. Online sports betting is growing in popularity across the world. Data collection in sport is helping to inform better sports betting decisions.
Almost any sport has data points that can be collected. Data is then analysed to see what is valuable and what is not. For example, knowing how many assists a player has is important, whereas how many times the player spoke to teammates is not.
At the moment, a lot of the data capturing comes from humans watching the game and recording the stats. Artificial intelligence is being developed and trained to help capture the relevant stats. Companies like Stratagem in the UK are training AI to pull data from football, tennis and baseball matches and use it to inform sports betting predictions.
AI computer systems have the ability to process and understand colossal data sets. There is no doubt that as data becomes increasingly refined, AIs will be able to make increasingly accurate bets.
Another area where you’re guaranteed to see the influence of artificial intelligence is in game development. User interactions with games can give software developers insight into what works and what doesn’t. An AI could be used to pull together a host of user data and suggest enhancements and fixes. It might even go so far as to recommend a new game.
Netflix is an example of an entertainment company who used data to inform their product. They used user data to inform what shows they should create. In the same way, game developers could learn what games could be improved or created.
Game developers have already branched out with interesting takes on slots and scratchcard games. You find games based on scrabble, monopoly, and snakes and ladders. AI could be used to inform developers what type of game they should make next by analysing the interests of the players.
Interesting and entertaining games are one of the strengths of online casinos, and AI will no doubt be used to improve the user experience of the players for years to come.
Improved customer service
Online casinos deal with real cash, so when a player has a question or concern, the establishment should offer good customer service. Artificial intelligence has already been used as customer service bots on websites across industries such as hospitality and healthcare.
Customer service AI bots are a great way for people to have their questions answered faster. It allows for nuanced questions to be asked that require more than just the generic answers available on the FAQ page.
You’ll certainly find more online providers using artificial intelligence to ensure that their players have peace of mind and fully enjoy the gaming experience.
Support responsible gambling
Perhaps the best impact of artificial intelligence in online gaming is better management of your bankroll. One of the biggest challenges of the gaming industry is to support and ensure responsible gambling. There are many sad stories of players who lost more than just a hand of cards through excessive gambling.
Going back to the Libratus experiment, you could see that the AI learned how to manage its bankroll. In the end, it won a lot of money. In the same way, an AI could learn to restrict you from placing bets that risk ruining your bankroll. It could also help you to know whether betting on a particular hand is a good idea.
Effective management of your bankroll ensures that the gaming experience is a responsible and enjoyable one. For some, the prospect of winning is an allure too strong to resist. Perhaps the cool-blue-reasoned brain of an AI is the support needed to keep your bankroll out of the red and into the black.
When done responsibly, online gaming is an enchanting experience. New games are refined and created regularly, and the multimedia element of the online space has ensured that you can enjoy games from the comfort of your home. If the idea of playing against a computer is not your idea of fun, then register with Grosvenor Casinos for excellent live games.
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