Ethical Use Of Artificial Intelligence Critical In U.S. Gaming Industry

November 21, 2023
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Artificial intelligence can be used in a variety of ways to improve the gaming experience, from developing new, more challenging games to creating a more immersive experience, but its ethical use is still a subject of concern, according to researchers.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in a variety of ways to improve the gaming experience, from developing new, more challenging games to creating a more immersive experience, but its ethical use is still a subject of concern, according to researchers.

Researchers have identified six converging ethical AI principles researchers from empowering humans to human control, accountability, fairness and minimization of bias, transparency explainability, and privacy, security, and safety by design.

Explainability refers to humans being able to interpret and understand model results, while minimizing bias deals with the risk of algorithms manipulating gamblers’ behaviors and exploiting human vulnerabilities.

Nasim Binesh, associate professor with the Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management at the University of Florida, said trying to define ethical AI is an evolving issue in general, much less specifically for the gaming industry.

“The European Union has come up with some guidelines but as far as gambling goes, there is a long way to go and there is a lot that is missing,” Binesh said. “So there really is no definition and if we were creating one it could be case-by-case just like other legislation or regulations.”

Binesh and Kasra Ghaharian, senior research fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) International Gaming Institute, have been researching the ethics of AI and its use by the gaming industry and hosted a discussion on the high stakes of gambling with AI at last month's Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas.

Conversations about ethics in AI over the past five years have generally been about identifying the primary areas of concern, Ghaharian told Vixio GamblingCompliance in an interview.

“Now, what we are starting to see over the last 12 months is translation of these principles into actual guidance,” he said. “There are these executive orders, blueprints; they aren’t doing much in terms of giving people a roadmap for what exactly to do.”

“So the next phase,” Ghaharian said, “is going to really concentrate on that.”

The discussion about ethical AI can be traced back to at least 2016 with the creation of the Partnership on AI by Google, Microsoft and other major technology companies. That was followed in October 2016 with the release of the report “Preparing for the Future of AI” from the U.S. federal government's National Science and Technology Council.

Over the last 12 months, there have been several developments regarding the regulation of artificial intelligence, including an executive order issued by President Joe Biden and the passage of the European Union AI Act, described as the world’s first comprehensive AI law.

Ghaharian told Vixio the gaming industry may have an advantage when it comes to ethical use of AI as it is so heavily regulated to start with.

“We don’t have AI-specific regulations, but we have regulations on gambling which are geared toward making the product safe to consume,” Ghaharian said. “So, we have gambling regulations to fall back on and that could be enough in some instances.”

In terms of strengthening privacy rights and data security with AI, Binesh said he believed the industry could see further regulations for AI in the U.S. similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and California’s strict Consumer Privacy Act.

“We are going to see more and more applications of it in our everyday lives and I believe every industry is going to use it to some extent,” Binesh said. “At some point, a lot of the automation we see will be done through AI.”

“So, I definitely think you may see similar laws for artificial intelligence,” she added.

Ghaharian agreed, saying data privacy is the main concern with the current AI applications in the gambling industry and machine learning. 

“I think the EU’s AI Act is looking like the template that will likely be picked up elsewhere. They’ve done the best job of articulating the risks,” Ghaharian said. 

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