Artificial Intelligence has been a quest for computer scientists for a long time, and it took its baby steps when programs were first developed that could match humans at games like Checkers or Draughts, and Chess. In those early days, it was the sheer speed of the computer’s mathematical capability that gave it the edge, by allowing it to make moves with the highest statistical probability of success.
But as the technology has developed over decades, AI programs have become capable of recursive learning from their own experiences, using either biological analogues or self-evolving machine learning. The result is a new breed of AI that processes massive amounts of data and is developing more human skills in its analysis, rather than relying on pure maths.
It’s this new AI that has triumphed over humans in more complex casino games like Texas Hold’em Poker, where intuition and bluffing plays as much of a role as a perfect understanding of the odds. Computers have even beaten human experts in the fiendishly complicated Chinese game of Go. The board game has more mathematical possibilities than there are atoms in the universe; so not even a computer’s maths skills are enough to secure victory without AI’s ‘human’ understanding.
What Can AI Offer Online Gaming?
The marriage of AI and Virtual Reality (VR) has exciting possibilities. Not only will online casino visitors experience the headset illusion of being in a land-based casino, but also in games like Blackjack and all its variations, the computer-generated players will be able to respond more creatively, and thus deceptively, to human players.
AI can also allow online and land-based casinos to spot a player who is cheating, by combining meta-data analysis with AI’s understanding of human behaviours. It may even develop into a security tool that allows online casino systems to identify and counter potential hacking threats without having to bother a human operator.
What If AI Gets Too Good?
That said, of course, AI’s flawless memory could destroy the thrill of online casino gaming entirely, if it simply gets too good. If humans are going to play games that mix varying degrees of chance and skill against machines that not only do complex maths infinitely faster than we can, but also have a perfect memory of every human cue given by hesitations, betting patterns and gaming behaviours, we don’t stand a chance.
The challenge, for AI developers, is to create online casino games that give human players all the possibilities of a casino floor, including unpredictable human reactions of other players, but which still allow you the same odds of winning, according to your skill levels, as they do already.
If developers focus instead on making AI games that are impossible to beat, it won’t be long before savvy yet perhaps not always on the straight and narrow players are creating AI programs of their own, to play online casinos machine-to-machine at their own game.