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AI in dating apps, can it really be the equation of love?

By August 16, 2019 No Comments

I went to an inspiring talk last night organised by AI for Good. The founder, Kriti Sharma, talked about how many data scientists and AI engineers had joined their community because at a certain point in their career they realised that all the work they were doing was just pushing people to buy more. They wanted to do something for the benefit of humankind and make a net positive contribution to society.

AI or Machine Learning is just a tool but it can be used for the benefit of us all or not, depending on the people designing the tool and what their intention is. This is particularly true in online dating. For some time the swiping mechanism invented by Tinder has been seen as potentially damaging as it leads to addiction. Last year Psychology Today wrote an article The Science Behind What Tinder Is Doing To Your Brain, “And consider the element of unpredictable rewards associated with the use of Tinder. Unpredictable rewards cause more activity in reward regions of the brain than rewards we know are coming. Casino slot machines are one example of this effect at work. Players do not know when, while pulling a lever or pressing a button, they will hit a jackpot. They play knowing that eventually, but not exactly when, someone who pulls the lever will win. Tinder operates on the same principle: Users do not know when, while swiping, they will match with an individual they deem attractive. And users do not know when, after engaging in a conversation, a match will respond. Moreover, an individual’s profile will still appear in the apps of other users who are swiping, even while the individual does not have the app open. This means that when users check their apps after a prolonged period of time, they often discover that they have gained new matches. This unpredictable quality keeps users curious and hooked.”

The dating app Hinge has been testing a feature that uses machine learning to find better matches for singles. It’s called Most Compatible and according to multiple reports, plans to use your in-app data to match people with each other. Most Compatible has been tested once a week for at least this past month, but it will now become a daily feature. Hinge founder Justin McLeod said that this new feature mainly relies on the classic item matching algorithm Gale-Shapley, which was developed in 1962 and is nickname the stable marriage algorithm. It basically tries making successful matches by choosing the most seemingly compatible person.

I think that Hinge is going in the right direction but AI could help people to connect better by collecting much more in-depth data that wouldn’t be shared with other users but could be used to nudge people in the right direction and help them reflect on the way they are coming across to others, which sometimes they are blissfully unaware of.

Relationships with others are ultimately a journey of self-discovery as other people reflect back to us elements of ourselves. Those with poor relationships have an unhealthy relationship with themselves. They have not found their true identity within themselves, but look towards others to define them.

“Relationship is a mirror. Every moment the other reveals you, exposes you. The closer the relationship, the clearer is the mirror.” — Rajneesh

At the moment dating apps are just a tool to connect you with the highest number of people near you. However in the future, a dating app, and I hope this one, could be a resource to help you connect more, communicate better and thrive within meaningful relationships both for friendship and love.

By Julia, i2i Founder