These AIs will not help you organize your day, but to find love. And when algorithms sweep for you, what happens to chance and romance?
Find love through algorithms? The idea is taken very seriously by many dating sites. While we can fall on TV on a reality show whose principle is to study the possibility of marrying someone we have never seen, using “compatibility” calculations, the technology go further. Algorithms now allow you to predict with whom you are likely to live a big (or small) story.
In the evening, maybe you do not have the courage to spend hours on forums or dating sites. Fortunately, the algorithms of Meetic and Tinder calculate “probabilities of compatibility”, and offer you to meet people sharing your passions.
These mathematical formulas are based on questionnaires – a hundred questions, inspired by a sociological tool, Schwartz’s method, which consists in “combining the elements constituting our inner compass”, in order to reconstitute a “system of values”. Only singles who have an “affinity rate” greater than 65%, are offered to the user.
But even better than a service of this type, there are those who dredge for you. There were already the “Dating Assistants”, the “pros of the drag”, who seduce online for you, for a fee. But as robots replace everyone right now, “personal assistants” now offer to do it.
In 2015, a Canadian computer scientist, Justin Long, created a robot, Bernie, which pre-selects photos of profiles that may please you (based on your tastes), and who can start to seduce them, talking to them in your place. The software uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence techniques.
In January 2017, Hinge, a hyper-popular dating app in the US, created a personal flier, called Audrey. Still in “test”, she would be able to send messages and chat for you. Apparently passing the test of Turing, Audrey succeed to pass (against 99 dollars per month) for a human, to save you time in terms of seduction. She could even plan your appointments.
Should we be worried about this nascent phenomenon of premature encounters by machines? By “optimizing” the meetings (or at least sex) of those able financially to afford their services, personal assistants like Audrey and Bernie, and compatibility compatibility algorithms could quickly become commonplace, according to Peter Diamandis, researcher and founder of Singularity University. According to him, they “will find you the ideal partner in the very near future”.
The idea is also found in the report “Future of Dating” (2016) of the dating site eHarmony (who also created his algorithm), in which we learn that with AI, “the data on the compatibility of two people can be used to suggest the right place to meet, or topics of conversation “.
For now, the algorithms of Tinder and Meetic are still far from effective, because they do not take into account the context of the meeting, but are based on the personality of the person. In addition, they are not able to take into account the fact that you may have changed beliefs and “value system”. Obviously, if you’re looking for one-night shots, these formulas are very effective …
Entrusting our dating and our love life to algorithms, is it risky? Do not we risk losing our free will? By eliminating chance and replacing it with algorithmic rules, what would spontaneity become? Two people without common points would they have no chance to meet?
There are the pessimists, those who speak of an “apocalypse of the meeting”. In 2010, in “Sex @ mour”, the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann feared that we are moving, with Tinder and company, towards a “new morality, close to hedonism” – the priming personal pleasure.
According to Justin Garcia, a researcher at the Kinsey Institute, dating algorithms are changing “the way we act, both sexually and lovingly”. To the point of looking for love on the Net as one would buy a pair of shoes – with the negative effects that we imagine on romanticism. Exit, the mysterious side of the meeting, the chance, risk taking.
Finally, it should be noted that an algorithm is never neutral … and that those used by Tinder, for example, will never be safe from bias.
So you do not necessarily meet the one who suits you. To trust algorithms is to finally trust the companies that design them, and for whom your happiness is not necessarily the most important.
We can always be reassured by telling ourselves that “dating assistants”, whether they are human or not, will only put people in touch. The day of the appointment “IRL”, they will not be there, and it is still this moment the most important. As the Digital Era website analyzes, the algorithms could even be positive, “allowing you to meet people you may never have met without them”.