Published: 15 November, 2021

The gaming of the shrew

Isabella Aslam weighs up the pros and cons of artificial intelligence. Is it best practice for affiliate content or best left to the science labs? Spotlight Sports Group’s Head of Digital, Will Fyler, and Acroud CEO Robert Andersson provide their professional expertise, as we assess just how far is too far...

Over many years, developments in technology have consistently introduced the notion of robots being something not too dissimilar to the ideals of extraterrestrial intelligence an overarching, make-believe concept, (to some! Area 51 specialists, please don’t quote me).

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have crept into the modern-day world at a nifty pace. Integrated into our modern lives, AI has become something of a ubiquitous essence in our daily activities. But we all expected this, didn’t we? Society allowed this to happen slowly and surely with a unified consent, didn’t it?

The past, present and advancing future

Nobody entered our details into quick authorisation services for us, not one person forced us to allow Apple to take our fingerprints (or scan our faces for facial recognition). Organisations didn’t beg us to willingly divulge our details into systems to gain internet access unknowingly allowing our data to be tracked, assessed and recorded. Did they?

So inevitably, if rattled by the expansion of self-service checkouts, self-scanning passports, we only have ourselves to blame and should not be surprised when we say AI is well on the way, dare one say to world domination? It doesn’t seem too far-fetched. We’ve given it a pat on the back and a helping hand in fact, we’ve shoved these bots straight through our door, with a free packed lunch and all.

In terms of content creation and work in the gaming industry, the toss-up between AI versus today’s human workload seems to have created a fine line in the sector. To what extent is enough enough and what takes away human value from computer science? Do people, the smartest beings on the planet, need an AI bot roaming around and writing our news articles for us? We can take care of that, thank you very much.

A scientific journal, written by David J. Hand and Shakeel Khan, discusses the extent of automation depending on human acceptance, stating: "AI systems will only fulfil their promise for society if they can be relied upon." The study suggests human interaction is needed when AI "doesn’t know its limits." This highlights that AI technology works typically better based on a social context, and there are risks illustrated in wholly trusting an AI piece of software for business organisations: "The system must be bug-free, based on properly representative data, and can cope with anomalies and data quality issues and that its output is sufficiently accurate for the task."

How will AI evolve the gaming industry?

Will Fyler, Head of Digital at Spotlight Sports Group, tells Trafficology: "while AI may satisfy demand initially, the audience is going to quickly look for more depth and more expert pieces that AI simply cannot serve."The affiliate provides sports data via its Superfeed application, as well as providing betting coverage for a range of sports. The company calls it "the central focus," boasting around 400 journalists reporting sports news in several jurisdictions, all the while working alongside data scientists and analysts who utilise AI to provide statistic-driven insights. I repeat, work with, but not rely solely upon. I also repeat: 400 human journalists.

As an affiliate that prefers the good old-fashioned (human) working lifestyle, it does pose the question of what is deciphered as the best option in the developing world. Or more importantly, these days, what is the quickest option that gets the most done. Is it a case of quantity over quality at a time like this? Surely the human cerebrum, the largest part of the brain that controls and initiates our movement, speech, judgement, thinking and reasoning, should overrule a bunch of digital data?

"We know that AI has to play a part in our working environment," said Fyler. "Across the group we utilise AI and we simply would not be able to scale our offering in the timeframe we have without it. It is about using it in the correct places and combining it with expert high-quality journalists and content creators."

In terms of the level of automation used, based on the brilliance of what the human brain can contemplate in comparison to robotic systems, Fyler’s views correspond with those of Hand and Khan he continues: "We also use hybrid solutions, whereby a certain amount of content can be automated but we still need humans to embellish and provide the colour and texture the machine cannot yet provide. For example, it is hard to tell from a database if a team’s preparation for a game has been disrupted by a training ground bust-up."

Worldwide, AI is integrated into our every move, quite literally in our step counts, in our Fitbits our Google Maps. Every company or industry uses a small portion of AI, whether omniscient or not. Think: Grammarly the writing software that corrects spelling mistakes and punctuation. In a sense, that’s AI. *Rewrites sentence…*

Highlighting the focus on automation being "very prevalent throughout Spotlight Sports Group" and used in "a number of ways", Fyler talks about the in-play product the company deploys to react to "on-field events " delivering "expert bet suggestions in real-time, in any language." Continuing to describe in two words what AI brings to the gaming industry’s table, he proclaims: "speed and scale."

"If you look at how far the gaming industry has advanced in the last decade, AI has been a large contributing factor to it, whether that’s in customer acquisition, trading or as we’re discussing - content creation."

In contrast to this, there is always a chance for humans to become accustomed to automation, and in terms of a negative effect on the gaming industry, Fyler adds: "We could become too over-reliant on it and therefore neglect some of our own thoughts and logic. This translates to the content it is best to utilise it when necessary but not neglect the human aspect."

Potentially, AI will expand companies in ways that have been deemed unthinkable. But in an advancing ecosystem of global technology, time has proven nothing is impossible. AI has since evolved from something seen as a low-level piece of machinery to a respected path toward undeniable advantages to many industries.

Robert Andersson, CEO of Acroud, suggests companies integrate AI intelligence in the workplace for cost-efficient and financial-economic reasons. "The benefits are clear. Cost is reduced, and when it comes to writing automated articles, for example, the auto-generated ones can so far usually be told apart from something written with real love. At least in our industry. We have been working quite a bit with AI-driven sports reporting. In all fairness, it’s not as brilliant as sports journalism, but it’s fast and cheap."

"Old fashions please me best I am not so nice to change true rules for odd inventions" - William Shakespeare. The Taming of the Shrew Act 3, Scene

Does choosing such economic factors over "real love writing" take the fun out of life’s simple pleasures? Shouldn’t the aptitude of the 2021 society be to master creativity and nurture human initiative? If you, like me, are a writer, then perhaps read no further… Or prepare yourself for what you’re about to digest. In 2018, a poetry-writing algorithm was created by scientists whereby none other than William Shakespeare’s sonnets were re-written (or shall one say, re-artificially articulated) by robots. As a profound lover of Shakespeare, although appreciative of the level of cyber-intelligence, this is just a touch too far, and one would like to think he wouldn’t be best pleased himself.

Another example of AI taking a turn for the somewhat bewildering is the Digital Einstein, created by Uneeq Digital Humans, said to have "brought to life’ history’s greatest minds for a "chat and a daily quiz.’ Not only does this seem slightly peculiar, but it brings to light the subject of what should be acceptable in terms of automation whether it should be used specifically for a purpose, or for amusement. If AI is mainly to support growth and organisation in workplaces, does Digital Einstein pass the test in aiding to a contribution of a better life? Or is it merely a testament to how a global adaptation to AI has probed the waters around chatbots... Or rather people’s boredom and/or stupidity.

Andersson expresses his views on what would potentially exhaust the expertise of scientifically proven digital intelligence, pointing out that "too far in terms of AI is when we forget to put humanity first. I am no fortune teller, but I have a hard time seeing how an economy would work if AI carried out all tasks."

Understandably AI is fascinating. However, although Fyler seems positive on the opportunities it brings, his positivity comes based on automation being utilised correctly. "Anything that can make someone’s life better in some way, whether it be expediting decision making or reducing tiresome routine tasks, can only be a good thing," he tells Trafficology. "Our golden rule for automated content is the reader should never detect that the content has been auto-generated. Using AI should not disrupt the quality of service you provide."

A bright future ahead, if we let it be

An oxymoron is that AI is awakening both fear and excitement in humans. The prospects of a largely automated integrated workplace could contribute to greater business success - and a better understanding of a consumer. Rather than replacing a human, AI embedded in a working world, combined with human intelligence, makes way for an amalgamation of data and human science, likely to be a beneficial factor to innovation - and even evolution.

The way humans interact with the proposition of further AI being incorporated, the greater results will stem from both parties. Efficiency is proven to be an important element when considering AI, which seems to be the one factor stopping AI from progressing independently - especially in gambling.

After all, when asked if using bots equals better efficiency in the gaming world, Andersson replies: "Sorry to get philosophical, but is anything ever guaranteed?"