The Bots Will Destroy Online Gambling

By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:31 PM CDT
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The Bots Will Destroy Online Gambling

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Andrew Smith over at the Dallas Morning News Technology Blog had an interesting post this weekend which met with a great deal of resistance from his readers there. In his post, he briefly detailed the possible doom on the horizon for online gambling, particularly online poker. He quotes the EE Times:
Humanity was dealt a decisive blow by a poker-playing artificial intelligence program called Polaris during the Man-Machine Poker Competition in Las Vegas.

Poker champs fought the AI system to a draw, then won in the first two of four rounds (each round had Polaris playing 500 hands against two humans, whose points were averaged.) But in the final two rounds of the match, Polaris beat both human teams, two wins out of four, with one loss and one draw.
And in his most recent post:
“It wasn’t until mid-2000, [when] an algorithm was developed, that [bots] could even come close to a competent player. But now online computer poker playing may become a thing of the past,” said Ian Fellows, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego and author of the open-source poker bot, “Fell Omen.”

The commentors on Andrew’s posts had a slightly different opinion, and many of them conveyed a familiarity with online gambling in a way that only an avid gambler could, and all of them more or less said the same thing: I can spot a bot from a mile away, and so can the operators of every gambling site on the Internet.

I have to wonder if that’s true, though. The whole meme reminds me of a story that came up during the insanely slow doldrums of the Christmas/New Years season last.  Kristen and I were on the night shift scouring for a news story that piqued our interest, and we came across the tale of CyberLover.RU:
If you thought Facebook Beacon and AdInfuse were creepy avenues for collecting advertising data, wait until you hear about the readily evolved bots coming out of Russia. This advanced software is pre-programmed to woo you until your head spins–or until you give up the digits, along with any other personal information its parent company may find valuable to advertisers.

The software, which is currently only working in Russia, is reportedly very well organized and can fool just about anyone. PC Tools is actually sending out warnings for this software, as it can obviously be used for hacking and other malware intentions. That naughty software. It’s smart enough to post the right messages, URLs, files and photos.
The bottom line is that while bots may not be able to consistently fool and outplay humans at poker at the highest levels, that isn’t what’s necessary for a bot, or army of bots, to make a boatload of money for their owner. The average poker player is, well, average. The bots (presumably) play better than average, and that’s why they exist and continue to be profitable.

As Ray Kurzweil explained of his Law of Accelerating Returns, technology begets technology.  These bots are only going to get better, the hardware that drives them will only improve, and the financial model to incentivize the improvement of both in conjunction will always exist. The US government in all it’s moralistic intent to destroy online gambling might as well let nature run its course, as sooner or later the bots will do it for us.

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Related Articles at Mashable | All That's New on the Web:

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TellyAdder is a Friend Bot for YouTube
43 Domains: What Next for 43 Things?
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PurePlay Hits VCs Up For More Cash: Legal Online Poker in the US?

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