Here’s How AI Dating Could Find You A Man

Matchmaker, matchmaker, algorithmically generate me a match…

By Andrea Mew5 min read
Pexels/Anastasia Shuraeva

Gen Z’s dating game has been killed by inflation and loneliness – which is just one worrying piece of the puzzle that is the modern American relationship. It’s frankly disturbing that 63% of young men report being single, while young women are disproportionately dating older men. Despite our senses being overwhelmed by a wide swath of digital matchmaking services devoted to turning this troubling trend around, many young Americans feel cursed by the unbridled freedom that dating apps offer.

Wired mused that “Gen Z Is Leaving Dating Apps Behind,” and early last year, youth research firm YPulse released data reporting that more young people find their partners through social media than dating apps. Hold up – are the algorithms that give us recipe Reels perfectly tailored to our taste preferences on Instagram, for example, outright better at playing matchmaker than the current technology that many may moan has only led to unfulfilling fling after fling?

It looks like dating app devs have their work cut out for them if they want to keep up. Computers are basically the next Cupid, or so it seems, according to findings from Match’s just released annual “Singles in America” report. In an exclusive interview for Evie Magazine, I dug into some of Match’s findings with their chief science advisor, Dr. Helen Fisher.

P.S. AI Loves You…or Can at Least Help You Find Love

We’re so uniquely blessed to rely on technology for much of the manual tasks that plagued prior generations. We get our GPS navigation on the go, instead of having to prep ahead of time and print MapQuest directions (or, better yet, pick them up at AAA) before getting in the car. But with great power comes great responsibility – are we actually prepared to let computers take a bigger role in matchmaking?

Match’s “Singles in America” is the largest study of its kind and is often seen as the benchmark for better understanding what’s up with those in the dating pool. While their findings revealed several ways that singles are adapting to our ever-evolving political and social climates, one overarching theme in particular stood out as emblematic of our ultramodern times: “Artificial Intelligence is helping singles connect more effectively.”

While machine-learning software is still in its early stages for dating technology, 14% of singles online have already used AI in some way, shape, or form for dating. What does this look like in practice? 43% used it to write their dating app profile, and 37% of those singles said they used AI to help write their first message to a match.

“That’s what dating is all about – getting introductions to the right someone,” Dr. Fisher pointed out. “Writing is hard. It’s got to be more enjoyable when someone (or something) can help you write more effectively.”

And singles are keen on taking all the help they can get: 30% admitted they’d want to use it to figure out conversation topics for their date, while 29% of respondents said they’d want help from AI to create their profile. 

Dr Fisher continued, “In short, it's a blessing if any tool (or person) can help you describe yourself and what you are looking for, and also compose an appropriate and appealing first message. What’s not to like?”

One third of all surveyed singles think AI could be a bonafide matchmaker for them.

People also appear to be quite optimistic about just how well they can weaponize AI to find “the one”; one third of all surveyed singles think AI could be a bonafide matchmaker for them and properly assess compatibility, but that statistic actually jumped to 43% when Match narrowed in on young singles. 

But as Dr. Fisher explained it, the real algorithm is still our own brains. Both computer programs based on machine-learning algorithms and real human matchmakers fulfill one basic purpose, she said, and that is introducing you to potential partners. 

How many of us have clicked on a YouTube video that was just “randomly” recommended on our home feed? Or purchased a product on Amazon’s “Related to items you've viewed” section? The same principle applies to dating apps, and as many as 34% of singles said they’d welcome help from their computer cupid to sort matches.

“People can be hesitant to use new technology,” Dr. Fisher said. “Socrates was scared that writing would destroy memory. In the 1400s, people were scared that the printing press would lead to information overload. And remember when people told you that talking on a cell phone would give you a brain tumor? AI can certainly create problems if used incorrectly, but today’s daters are using AI in a very beneficial way.”

Despite the rise of computer cupids, Dr. Fisher doesn’t think that AI is promising to be better than our own family or friends at assessing who we are and who we might mesh well with. But some young men and women have exhausted all potential IRL connections and just aren’t feeling the flames. Consequently, as many as three in ten Americans (and over half of young American adults) then turn to one of the thousands of options for dating sites, platforms, or apps. But, these sites and apps present a mixed bag of success: Only one in ten adults across all ages reportedly met their current partner on one.

“I’m not selling AI; it’s not for everyone. But it can give you some ideas on how to sort matches, create a stronger profile, and come up with conversation topics,” Dr. Fisher said, urging singles not to be afraid of technology. “Try it out; get to know how to use it to suit your needs. It isn’t even going to admonish you if you misuse it! Just try it and dump it if it doesn’t help. It can’t hurt you.”

The Evolutionary Psychology of Ancestral and Artificial Love

Dr. Fisher was brought into the fold at Match in 2005 after she had made a name for herself in the world of human behavior research. A biological anthropologist, author of six books, and senior research fellow at The Kinsey Institute, Dr. Fisher knows more than a thing or two about the evolutionary psychology of human love.

When it comes to connections, we suffer from a bit of sensory overload now more than ever before. Where humans evolved in the context of in-groups between 50 to 150 people, today we might scroll through 50 to 150 people’s opinions on any given social media feed within mere minutes. And the same phenomenon presents itself on dating apps – in fact, people have coined a folk term for it: “swiper’s fatigue.”

We've been blessed in a sense by wider pools of potential mates, but as Dr. Fisher explained, we’re courting and dating alone. “Times have definitely changed,” she said. “We don’t have a host of people around us, giving us their opinions, guiding us through sticky situations, and endorsing our feelings.”

But the freedom and autonomy that we gained came at the expense of a sense of local community. This, Dr. Fisher said, is a departure from our ancestral hunter/gatherer instincts because, while our ancestors flirted in similar ways, “hooked up” just as often, and fell in and out of love just as much as we do, they benefited from tighter-knit kinship that helped one another find love.

It can be pretty easy to feel all doom and gloom about modern dating culture when you see the utter depravity that gets picked up in vulgar, click-bait headlines, but we can’t forget just how much freedom we’ve been afforded by our society gradually getting more and more liberated. Need a bit of perspective? Dr. Fisher said to recall the novels of Jane Austen, William Makepeace Thackeray, or Anthony Trollope, where pre-industrial men and women had to adhere to strict guidelines of who to wed based on class, money, age, and more. 

Many people, she said, got stuck in “terribly unhappy marriages,” but the rules of yesteryear are long gone. It’s often taken for granted just how simple it can be to marry outside class, race, educational background, or whatever metric or identity you use to discern yourself from others.

“Today, we can leave a dreadful relationship to make a better one; we’re not stuck. And people can choose for themselves. It’s a great time to court and love – at any age,” Dr. Fisher said.

And, as Match has made it evident, we’ve got some new tools in our arsenal to help us in that search: algorithms and AI. 

Using AI to alter your image or write your whole conversation is still frowned upon by singles. 

In their findings, however, Match pointed out several deal-breakers for the use of AI in the dating sphere. Thinking of using ChatGPT to alter your image? 46% of the singles in Match’s study think that’s unacceptable. How about using it in all of your convos with a potential date? 39% of singles weren’t cool with that one either. Clearly, authenticity in dating is still sexy. 

There’s a lot to be wary about when it comes to intelligent machines. AI girlfriends have gone viral recently for their promises of spicy selfies, hot roleplay, and hyper-realistic voice calls. Some may raise white flags of self-defeat over not being able to compete with virtual girlfriends, but the truth of the matter is that computers can’t ever fully replace real human interaction. In this same train of logic, while AI will be integrated in ways that shake up the modern matchmaking scene, it can’t render IRL dating obsolete.

So, Dr. Fisher advised that singles on dating apps should figure out how to use AI to their own advantage – from getting fresh ideas on how to describe yourself and what you’re hoping to get out of the experience to ice breakers. But as she put it, the only real algorithm is your brain.

“As my father told me long ago, ‘Helen, take anything you can get; you can always throw it out,’” said Dr. Fisher. “Don’t be scared of AI – it’s just another tool.”

Closing Thoughts

Do increasingly intelligent computer programs have you feeling a bit like we’re actually getting closer and closer to the dystopias described in The Matrix or Terminator? I don’t blame you – it’s hard to watch AI advance in such unsettling ways. The same technology that’s making artists feel uncomfortable about their trade being rendered obsolete is also opening up the possibility for your everyday woman to be the subject of non-consensual deepfake porn.

While I’d certainly never dismiss these fears outright, it’s in our best interest to at least understand how we can use computer programs to our advantage because they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. ChatGPT can help people connect despite language barriers, be a fierce opponent for gamers, and can of course be used in several ways to make work much less burdensome. Unless you’re ditching dating apps entirely, it looks like you’re posed to become part of this growing population of daters whose future may be determined by computer cupids.

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