Sergey Kastukevich Of SOFTSWISS: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Leverage AI, including Machine Learning: Embrace the benefits AI offer, particularly in areas like big data analysis and feature production. By harnessing these tools, we can significantly enhance our capabilities and efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Sergey Kastukevich.

Sergey Kastukevich, Deputy Chief Technology Officer at SOFTSWISS, joined the SOFTSWISS team more than three years ago. Kastukevich has a rich technical background with Enterprise Development experience in various domains: desktop, web, and mobile.

At SOFTSWISS, Sergey has successfully expanded multiple technical teams, enhanced the organizational structure, and refined team processes.

Professional interests: IT outsourcing, custom software development, resource management, and senior project management.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

SOFTWISS stands as an ecosystem rather than merely a product provider, which sets us apart from competitors in our market segment. Our business model empowers operators with a holistic range of products and services, facilitating the successful launch of their iGaming projects.

Our products are licensed across various markets, saving clients the hassle of seeking additional services elsewhere. With SOFTWISS, they receive comprehensive support, including licensing, payment system integration, game content integration, technical support, and game support services. This approach allows our clients to focus on their marketing efforts, driving traffic, refining design aesthetics, and aligning with their business strategy.

Beyond our rich experience, our team comprises dedicated iGaming experts committed to client success. We offer our expertise, tailoring strategies for specific markets and keeping clients ahead of the curve. Each client is paired with a dedicated account manager to maintain constant communication, share crucial insights, and keep them informed about market trends and our latest technical advancements.

One of our company’s standout strengths is the reliability and outstanding quality of our technical services. Our system experiences minimal downtime and very few incidents. In the rare event of external attacks, we promptly implement strategies to restore operations, prioritizing the seamless functionality of our clients’ businesses above all else.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

My success is driven by two key factors: hard work and a passion for what I do. I genuinely enjoy working and leading others, finding that I gain more energy from the process than I expend. This enables me to thrive in constant communication, managing numerous meetings each day across various levels while seamlessly transitioning between strategic and operational tasks.

At the end of the day, far from feeling exhausted, I am energized and ready to indulge in my creative hobbies, such as music, playing piano and other instruments, and cooking. This creative mindset extends to my work, where I constantly strive to infuse technical solutions with innovative and imaginative ideas.

Honesty is a core aspect of who I am, reflecting in my commitment to business integrity and transparent communication with partners, employers, and myself. I believe in acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses sincerely, fostering open dialogue, and setting clear expectations to drive mutual understanding and improve work outcomes.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

The iGaming sector has seen rapid global expansion, driving the swift adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). Within our operations, AI is primarily leveraged to streamline routine tasks and tackle challenges that surpass human capabilities.

In the regulated landscape of the industry, AI is key for compliance. It helps enforce regulations like age restrictions and spot signs of gambling addiction way better than manual methods. Plus, it’s super efficient at identifying potential problem gamblers based on their behavior patterns, something that would be a real headache to do manually due to the huge amount of data involved.

At SOFTSWISS, we utilize ML models to find unreliable players, the so-called Bonus Abusers. These are the players who try to break the rules, get free bonuses that are not intended for them, find “broken” games and profit from them. Our Anti-Fraud team supported by AI, processed over 100,000 requests in 2023, saving operators over 13 million euro.

Furthermore, AI serves a pivotal role within our industry and at our company, by enhancing player experiences through curated content recommendations. Predictive data empowers operators to identify VIP players and those at risk of churn, helping them tailor engagement efforts that boost player lifetime value (LTV) and cut costs. Additionally, AI aids in identifying low-quality traffic, allowing operators to refine advertising strategies for optimal results.

However, it’s important to recognize that diving into AI tech requires a hefty investment. While tools like ChatGPT have their perks, they might not always be enough to tackle complex business challenges.

The costs associated with AI implementation involve two primary aspects. Firstly, substantial expenses arise during the development phase, which necessitates skilled professionals in Data Science and Machine Learning. These experts often command premium salaries due to their high demand.

Secondly, ongoing support is essential as AI models require continual training with new data to keep pace with evolving trends. Regular review, testing, and refinement are necessary to ensure effectiveness, as market dynamics change over time.

While we are currently capable of identifying fraudulent players, their behavior can evolve over time, requiring updates to our models. This emphasizes the need for ongoing review, testing, and refining of our systems.

Expecting a product to keep making money without updates doesn’t work in a fast-changing world. And making a tech solution that fits everyone’s needs is tough. It needs constant tweaks to stay relevant.

Moreover, leveraging AI comes with costs associated with computing power, particularly when utilizing cloud solutions. Scaling up AI means investing more in computational resources.

To determine if AI is worth it, we need to compare its benefits with the costs of developing, deploying, and maintaining it. This emphasizes the need for careful planning and strategic use to tackle business challenges and get the most out of AI.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

In my opinion, key technologies such as Machine Learning and Deep Learning are game-changers. They enable us to manage large volumes of data with ease, making our operations more efficient and cost-effective. The availability of affordable computing power has played a significant role in enhancing this efficiency.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

As computing power became more affordable, we have been able to harness AI technologies like Machine Learning and Deep Learning more effectively. This has made task-solving much easier. Previously, building certain ML models needed a ton of computational resources, almost as much as entire data centers. But now, you can put them together in a garage without much hassle.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

We are always keeping an eye on new tech, especially AI. Our R&D team stays busy tracking new trends, running tests, and seeing how we can put these innovations to work. We want to be ahead of the curve and seize the opportunity when technology can really enhance our processes. It’s about finding that sweet spot where the benefits of implementing AI outweigh the costs of development and deployment.

We collaborate closely with our development team, advocating for the use of personal assistants in writing source code and streamlining their daily tasks. To this end, we conduct employ

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

Professional development is a journey of growth, demanding personal investment. People vary in their ability to embrace change, influenced by their unique traits. Adopting something radically new typically requires a period of adjustment. When accustomed to a particular way of working, it takes time to develop trust in novel approaches, step beyond familiar boundaries, experiment with new methods, fully embrace them, and ultimately integrate them effectively into our workflow.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

In our industry, ethical considerations may not hold as much weight as in fields like medicine, where unethical practices can have severe consequences for people’s health and well-being. However, ensuring accurate predictions is paramount.

When considering ethics in AI, it’s important to acknowledge the susceptibility of AI models to human biases. This susceptibility is evident at the input data level, where our contextual and biased knowledge can be embedded. When we train machine intelligence or neural networks, it’s crucial that our data covers a wide range of users, including different demographics, social backgrounds, and age groups. Data engineers play a key role in collecting and preparing this diverse dataset.

However, what’s considered valid data today may not hold true tomorrow or in different social or cultural settings. This variability can lead to discrimination, especially if certain groups are overlooked or underrepresented in the data. It’s essential to address these issues to prevent biases from becoming entrenched in AI systems.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

  1. Stop Fearing AI: The first step is to dispel fears surrounding artificial intelligence by recognizing that much of the apprehension stems from misinformation. While AI may lead to job displacement in certain sectors, such as heavy truck driving, banking, and legal, its transformative impact on business is inevitable. We can’t stop it, but we don’t need to fear it.
  2. Leverage AI, including Machine Learning: Embrace the benefits AI offer, particularly in areas like big data analysis and feature production. By harnessing these tools, we can significantly enhance our capabilities and efficiency.
  3. Educate on AI Technologies: It’s crucial to educate people on how to leverage AI technologies effectively now, before they become pervasive in our industries. Software developers, for example, can use AI to perform routine tasks, simplifying their work cycle. Unlike humans, AI systems maintain consistent efficiency without fatigue or boredom.
  4. Contribute to AI Development: Instead of passively consuming AI technology, we should actively contribute to its development. At SOFTSWISS, we strive to be pioneers in AI technology, building upon our track record of innovation in areas like crypto solutions for casinos. And we want to be the first in the development of AI technologies, to bring something of our own, new. By contributing to AI’s growth, we can introduce innovative and unique advancements.
  5. Use AI for Sustainable Business: Implement these technologies to conduct business in a more environmentally sustainable and safe manner. Beyond efficiency improvements, AI offers the potential to reduce our ecological footprint and enhance safety across various industries.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

Implementing any technology requires conducting A/B tests. Just like any consumers, users of tech products may be hesitant to adopt new innovations. Therefore, building trust in technology is essential.

Consider a scenario of driving an autonomous vehicle at high speeds. Despite assurances from engineers, the lack of control can induce stress and apprehension. Similarly, operators in the iGaming industry operate at breakneck speeds, investing heavily in advertising and traffic acquisition. For them, maintaining control over their processes is paramount.

Introducing AI tools, such as those recommending popular games based on analytics, may initially face scepticism as operators prefer relying on their instincts over AI recommendations. They may agree to a trial during off-peak times to minimize risk. However, the reduced traffic during these trials may not fully test the tool’s effectiveness.

Therefore, I identify two primary challenges: building consumer and client trust and managing significant costs associated with AI implementation. While there are many innovative ideas, not all are practical or necessary to pursue.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Do what you must, and let whatever happens, happen.”

In my view, it’s essential to acknowledge that we all operate within our own set of circumstances. As a leader, I understand that I have the power to influence certain factors, such as utilizing resources, managing teams, and meeting client expectations. If things don’t go as planned, I understand the need to move forward, focusing on what I can control, and exploring different approaches.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

Every night, I find myself pondering: “Have I given my all today?” In those moments, two phrases come to mind: “This too shall pass,” reminding me that challenges are temporary and surmountable, and “The future is unknown, the past cannot be changed,” urging me to embrace the present moment.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Be open to everything new and embrace emerging developments without resistance. Allow new people to show their potential within the company, and make room for new ideas. Avoid limiting yourself and others with rigid boundaries. Be honest with everyone and yourself.

If you do nothing, you risk squandering valuable time, as it is limited. Aim to maximize benefits for both yourself and others by making the most of the time available.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.