Fresh into the new year, we thought we would kick off with an insightful interview with Simon Hansen, a Solution Specialist at Mindway AI, we delve into the intersection of cognitive science, responsible gambling technology, and artificial intelligence. Hansen shares his expertise on the challenges of operationalising research findings, the importance of software flexibility in a dynamic industry, and Mindway AI's collaborative approach with customers. Discover how the company stays at the forefront of the field, balancing precision with user-friendliness to meet the unique needs of the gambling sector.
GE) In your role as a Solutions Specialist at Mindway AI, how do you leverage your background in Cognitive Science to integrate the latest findings from psychology and neuroscience into AI solutions for player protection in the gambling industry?
SH) Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary field of study meaning that I am accustomed to address a problem from several perspectives and draw on knowledge and methods from multiple disciplines. I believe that complex problems such as player protection require us to work across disciplines to identify and build the most effective solutions.
In my experience, keeping up with new research is not the difficult part. The difficult part is taking the findings and transforming them into operational product functionality. This exact exercise goes very well with the nature of cognitive science which often seeks to take broader concepts such as attention, memory, and decision-making and quantifying this using data and building models that describe these complex cognitive functions. In the problem gambling literature, you will often find concepts such as loss chasing, tolerance and cravings. The real challenge is building these things into player tracking solutions and reliably identifying these patterns in data. And doing it in a way where we can also detect these risk indicators at an early stage. I think this is where cognitive science really has it strength.
GE) In the dynamic landscape of gambling addiction research, can you share instances where you've adapted the technical architecture of Mindway AI's solutions to align with responsible gambling trends? How do you ensure software agility?
SH) As an internationally minded company we are not only obliged to navigate the dynamic landscape of gambling addiction research but also the diverse and always changing regulatory landscape. This has led us to build solutions which center around software flexibility. We have built a software solution where we are able to customise various components of our solution rather efficiently and introduce new functionality to accommodate new trends, customer requests and regulatory requirements.
When we build new core functionality, we design solution around customisability and flexibility. One example is the GameScanner alarm system that alerts operators of players that require their attention and can be used to trigger both manual and automatic interventions. We quickly realised that we needed to build a flexible system where the operators would have a lot of control over both alarm type and structure in order to comply with regulator requirements and adapt to their business model. This is exactly what we offer. Moreover, we have made sure to make it possible to quickly add new alarm types and concepts to keep up with logic required by the regulator or operator themselves.
GE) What technical challenges in responsible gambling technology do you find most complex, and how has your skill set evolved to address them? Can you share lessons learned in adapting AI solutions to industry needs?
SH) In my opinion the most challenging requirement is to be able to adapt the ever-changing regulatory requirements and make solutions that can be tailored to different types of operators, while still keeping the solution user-friendly and easy to use. We basically have a very complex products that needs to be very easy and efficient to use. As an example, we need the results that our AI algorithm provides to be very precise but also very easy to use and interpret. Striking that balance is definitely something that have evolved during my time at Mindway AI.
One of the lessons that I have learned working with safer gambling technology is that the scientific point of view is not enough. I have also spent significant time understanding operational and regulatory aspects of safer gambling. This both includes building up knowledge but also findings efficient ways to keep up with constant stream of new information. Developing such workflows and knowledge has helped me build better solutions and understand the needs of our clients, so that we can accommodate those with our solutions.
GE) How do you stay updated on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience for player protection? Can you share an example of how a recent technical insight influenced your approach to enhancing safeguards?
SH) As a solution specialist it is important for me to always be on top of research and to understand which insights need to be using to develop new or adapt existing functionality. Having a scientific background my go-to is to subscribe to new article across several scientific journals. Using the actual journal articles allows me to understand the significance, context, and robustness of the findings and thereby assess how we best utilize this in our software. At Mindway AI we work very closely with experts within the field of problem gambling behaviour. By collaboration with them we get input both from the scientific and clinical world, which helps us stay on top of the field.
We recently decided to enhance our product with respect to single view of customer, which is one of the focus areas within some regulatory jurisdictions. We can now offer better support for operators when evaluating a person’s behaviour across multiple accounts. This gives a much more complete picture of the person’s behaviour and therefore better player protection and makes it easier for our clients to comply with regulations.
GE) Responsible gambling is a shared responsibility among industry stakeholders. In your experience, how does Mindway AI collaborate with customers to tailor its AI solutions, ensuring they meet the unique needs and challenges faced by executives and technical teams in the gambling sector?
SH) At Mindway we see all customer relationships as partnerships. We need our customers to succeed within the safer gambling space to be successful. In addition, our software needs to work for operators of all sizes across different jurisdictions with significantly different regulatory frameworks. To accommodate that our solution is highly flexible. Flexibility and tailoring can mean many things. Examples include integrations with different systems, different preferences, and requirements regarding case management etc.
I believe that a lot of our success comes from us sitting down with the operators and understanding their needs and core use cases and then building and implementing our solution around the customer’s needs rather than coming with an out of the box solution where the operator is forced to accept suboptimal solution designs and workflows. We do this when we implement our software but also on an ongoing basis with existing clients. This also helps us prioritize development projects and put the most important tasks first.
About out contributor
Simon Hansen currently works at safer gambling software company Mindway AI as a Solution Specialist, where he has been a key player in moving the company from a smaller start-up to a key global business within the area of safer gambling technology. He holds a master’s degree in Cognitive Science from Aarhus University where he has done several projects and published research on problematic gambling behaviour and decision making. Simon’s key strength lies in building software solution that are specialized towards safer gambling operations and translating data in complex psychological concepts such as loss chasing. He believes that focusing on and working effectively with safer gambling is a foundational part of running a sustainable gambling business. https://mindway.ai/