Will Swiping Right Become a Thing of the Past?

Technology
  • Thursday, December 21 2017 @ 09:59 am
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Is the future virtual dating?

Online dating is the most popular way to meet, thanks to dating apps like Tinder that made it fun to swipe right and easily match with a stranger. But the introduction of AI technology to the online dating industry could change how people interact yet again, which means that swiping might become a thing of the past.

It’s hard to believe when dating apps are so ubiquitous. But a recent article on NBCNews’ website delved into the potential of incorporating AI into the online dating experience, and how that might change dating culture.

We rely on technology and its advances; it has become a huge part of how we function and communicate, and will continue to evolve. As one researcher noted, twenty years ago, who would have thought services like Uber and Lyft could exist, where people virtually asked strangers to give them rides?

So why not consider that virtual dating will become something as ubiquitous as Tinder?

It’s a little weird to think that you can virtually “date” someone and go anyplace in the world with them without leaving the comfort of your home. AI dating would include wearables – bodysuits, headsets with sensors and “actuators” – which help you “experience” the date. For instance, you can choose a Manhattan night club for your first date, and you will see and hear what your date sees and hears – and you’ll even be able to touch your date and feel it via the sensors.

Some experts have noted that virtual dating would provide a level of safety, especially for female daters. It’s a big step to go from messaging to meeting someone in person, and as they point out, VR is the safest way to have real-time interaction with a stranger outside of a phone call.

And what about matching technology, the bread and butter of dating apps? Now, Tinder, OkCupid and other apps are starting to pull relevant information and behavior patterns from social media as well as via profiles and surveys. And with AI, sites and apps may also gather biometric data, heart rates, and respiration rates to determine matches.

eHarmony’s senior research analyst Justin Beber notes: “By 2040, we will have technologies which are capable of measuring your hormones and feeding this information, along with data on your behavior, to smartphones and other devices to match you with people.” He also says that it might take another 10 or 20 years before this approach gains wide acceptance.

Real-time AI dating coaches are another possibility, where daters could get advice whispered in their ears as they are trying to strike up a conversation.

Corinne Weisgerber, a sociologist at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas noted the downside of all of these advances in the NBCNews article. She said, “when we start relying on real-time AI dating coaches, we may never learn how to build rapport with potential romantic partners because we no longer need to expend our energy trying to read another person’s emotions or nonverbal behaviors.”

If we no longer recognize attraction via our own body chemistries, AI could bring another level of distance between two potential romantic partners, another hurdle to cross to have a real-life relationship. On the other hand, it could also be more fun.