Even a few years ago, the power of artificial intelligence algorithms could only be imagined in the world of science fiction. Such is the power of modern microprocessors – especially those that are linked up in a hive configuration over the internet – that computers can work out some incredibly clever stuff. More than ever before, computers are used to model the future, even where highly complex mathematics will be at play. You can see this in benign things like predicting the weather more accurately.
However, there are also artificial intelligence algorithms that are being used to predict market trends and to place bets on the stock exchanges and money markets around the world. Sometimes, millions of micro-transactions take place in these marketplaces in order to take advantage of changes quicker than any human mind could handle. Of course, this is not the case with games of chance where outcomes are generated in a much more controlled way than you’d find on the financial markets. Or is it? How is the power of artificial intelligence already being deployed in the gaming industry, specifically with online casinos?
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Gaming
Although artificial intelligence is now more widely used in gaming these days, it has been around for a while. Famously, IBM built a supercomputer named Deep Blue which was the first algorithm-based system to defeat a chess grandmaster. Garry Kasparov was beaten by it in a six-game match as far back as 1997, the first time this feat had been achieved by artificial means. More recently, in 2017, Libratus broke new ground when it became the first artificial intelligence system to start winning big against some of the top names in poker. Of course, in poker there a many psychological aspects which have to be taken into account and many thought – even following Kasparov’s defeat to a machine – that algorithms would never be able to handle the subtlety of poker to beat anything other than novices convincingly. That is certainly not the case now because Libratus was not just successful against highly rated gamblers playing Heads-Up No-Limit Holdem, but it managed to win time and again over thousands of hands.
As such, many in the online casino industry saw it as something of a wake up call. How can the sector defend itself from people using artificial intelligence to make them into better gamblers? That debate is still ongoing and only time will tell where the balance of power is going to reside in the future. Will the house still have an advantage if gamblers are able to use ever more sophisticated means of making their bet selections and knowing when the odds are with them to bet big? Of course, that is only one aspect of the impact of artificial intelligence on the gaming industry that is still being felt. In fact, artificial intelligence is already being used in the industry for plenty of good reasons, too.
Data Analysis and User Experience Improvements
By doing the number crunching from all of the data that is gathered from any online platform, those who run it can make improvements to it. So-called big data analysis allows businesses like online casinos to determine what players like and what they don’t. In turn, this means that they can create a more user-friendly experience for players when they gamble. In many cases, the online gaming industry is world-leading when it comes to providing a tailored user experience that players find attractive. Of course, it is not all about tempting people to stay and to gamble more and more. There are artificial intelligence systems around – such as BetBuddy, for example – which are specifically designed to detect patterns in behaviour when people are gambling online. Such algorithms are used to flag individual players to casino operators and to alert them to potentially addictive gambling habits. Without such safeguards, it would not be possible for online casino operators to help people showing addictive traits in their gambling.
Remember, however, that an online casino is primarily a business and one that operates in a competitive market. As such, artificial intelligence is commonly deployed to make one brand stand out from another in a way that will specifically appeal to the player concerned given his or her priorities. Artificial intelligence is now used, for instance, to make preferences available with just one click of the mouse or to offer bespoke promotions which will engender brand loyalty from players.
Foiling the Cheats
Another hugely important aspect of artificial intelligence in the world of online casinos comes to preventing suspicious behaviour and cheating. Remember that in many gaming situations players are not merely pitting their wits against the house but may be doing so against one another. By conducting the same sort of data analysis that is used to provide improved user experiences for players, so it can be successfully deployed to foil potential cheats. This is the digital equivalent of the CCTV cameras you might see in a bricks and mortar casino that are used to monitor behaviour and to weed out tricksters.
Essentially, artificial intelligence knows what sort of patterns to look for when it comes to attempts to cheat. Interestingly, not all of them relate directly to gambling behaviour. By monitoring every aspect of a players behaviour when they are online, it is possible to build up an incredibly accurate picture of what sort of individual is at the other end of the connection. By flagging potential cheats it helps to protect the integrity of the gambling experience not just for the casino but for genuine gamblers, as well.