Think of a number. Say it. Now think of another one. And another one. Congratulations, you just generated three random numbers. Or did you? Several studies have proven that humans are biased when picking random numbers, favouring odd numbers and prime numbers. Also, the random number sequences generated by humans almost always have patterns that others will spot. So, to generate a truly random number, people need help – a random number generator of some type.
What’s so important about having a truly random sequence of numbers, you may ask? Well, random numbers have a vast variety of applications, from statistical sampling to cryptography and simulations. And their most widespread use that’s accessible for the general public is gambling – especially online gambling.
Perhaps the simplest game of chance known to man is a coin toss. A coin is a pretty good random number generator – you flip it, and the result will be either heads or tails. Except it’s not truly random: the different shapes embossed on its sides makes it more likely for it to land with one of its faces up. And this can be predicted – statistically, of course.
Casinos use far more complex random number generators – even those in real life. A die – unless it’s rigged – can produce a random number between 1 and 6. A roulette wheel – again, if it’s working perfectly – can produce a random number between 0 and 38. This, of course, under ideal conditions – if the croupier launches the ball with the exact same force in each spin, and if the roulette wheel works perfectly.
Online casinos use more complex devices to produce the random numbers they need to function. One of the cornerstones of the technology behind Canadian online casinos is the random number generator that must be fair (as in truly random) and not biased toward neither of the parties. JackpotCity Online Casino, for example, has to undergo periodic randomness reviews by third-party auditors to be able to function. These audits ensure that all games at the JackpotCity Casino are “safe and fair”.
A much more important use for random number generators is one that most people never hear about: encryption. For this, pseudorandom number sequences are used: a seemingly random sequence of numbers that can be completely reproduced if the same seed (initial sequence or key) is used. These are used everywhere from ATMs and online stores to messaging apps and such. Basically, it makes our modern life possible, guarding our privacy, our information security, and our money, and decide the winners of countless giveaways and raffles through services like random.org.
Random numbers may not seem to be important in our everyday lives – actually, they are vital to our entire digital ecosystem, making sure our messages can only be read by those who were meant to, and that our money doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.