How big data and poker-playing bots are blurring the line between man and machine

In his new book, The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling, Adam Kucharski details how trying to understand dice games led one mathematician to develop probability theory, how one of the first wearable computers was designed to covertly predict the fall of a roulette ball, and how poker-playing bots are advancing more quickly than we think. As he shows, science, mathematics, and gambling have long been intertwined, and thanks to advances in big data and machine learning, our sense of what’s predictable is growing, crowding out the spaces formerly ruled by chance. At the same time, though, we’re letting more of our lives be influenced by algorithms, bits of code whose effects are beyond our full understanding. As in so many other areas,…


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