AI To Eliminate Gambling Addiction?

Me and AI, or artificial intelligence, have a very shaky relationship. Which is to say; I’m not convinced that Sky Net in The Terminator was very feasible as a plot device to end the world. That anyone programmed in the option for Sky Net to destroy humanity is rather questionable. So much so that the more I think about it, the more I think the humans in that world deserved extinction, given how bad they were at designing world protecting AI systems.

Seriously though, I find that AI is extremely misunderstood by the vast majority of people I talk to. As a person who once spent a month making an amateur game, I came to have a pretty good basic idea of how it works. And, I can assure you with 100% certainty; AI cannot do anything it has not been specifically designed to do. Fearing that a system like Sky Net might “decide” to end the world is like fearing that a dog might steal your gun from the safe, shoot you with it, and flee across the border with all your doggy treats. Maybe that’s why they call them Border Collies?

But, AI does certainly have many great uses, and the most recent I read about is how it might be used to stop problem gambling at online casinos. Now there is something AI could indeed be used for.

An AI That Detects Problem Gambling

How could an AI system detect problem gambling? Well, AI is very much a set of rules, and programmed systems, that work in a flow chart design. An AI system would have to have information fed through it, say the events happening at an online casino. And, if the pattern of any of the events occurring matched a pre-programmed pattern in the AI, it could trigger, and start following the events via a more focused set of rules.

If certain predetermined parameters were met, the AI could identify the series of events as potentially being from a problem gambler, and notify a human. The human could then watch the events, and make a decision as to whether to speak to the person or not, and even decide if the person should be barred from playing any further.

It sounds like it could be a very effective system.

The Challenges

But if all this sounded like an easy system to implement, it certainly is not. There are an enormous amount factors that would have to be taken into consideration, to avoid harassing perfectly innocent players at online casinos. The question is; how does one identify the patterns of a problem gambler? And how, of course, does one put this recognition into an automated, unintelligent system?

Yes, despite the name artificial intelligence, there is very little intelligent about it, for the most part. Such system can only operate in the way they have been designed, and some are emotionless, and rather unintuitive. To balance such a system fairly would be an extremely difficult proposition, and probably never be perfected.

Those who designed the system would have to make some very careful decisions about how a pattern could be spotted in decisions made at online casinos. And I’ll tell you this much, I certainly wouldn’t like the job of having to make those decisions.

Could It Work?

Given my limited knowledge of how AI works, I think that such a system could be implemented, with a great deal of work and fine-tuning. The system would have to be used in conjunction with human operators, of course, but I think good results could be had, with some very smart programmers on the job.

The part of the prospect that really makes me stop and think, however, is just how happy players at online casinos might be, if being identified as problem gamblers by AI. I can imagine some very indignant responses, especially if that person really is not a problem gambler at all. There seems to be room for some heated arguments. Although, on the other hand, I think everyone can appreciate the importance of such a system, even if does make a few false identifications at first.

When Will We See It?

AI seems to be mentioned a great deal these days, and all in ways that suggest it has boundless potential to do incredible things. And, AI certainly can, within it’s very strict limitations. Automated cars seem just around the corner, which would be another sterling use of AI. There never does seem to be a very specific time period given as to when such cars will actually hit the roads, however.

As for problem gambling identification systems, there likewise seems to be no given time period as to when such a things might actually exist, if they ever do. Given how difficult such a thing would be to get right, however, I personally imagine it would be some time. In the meantime, I’m going to read up more on Border Collies…

Marc Armstrong - Signature