Jennifer Glista, VP of strategic partnerships and platform sales at Receptiviti, won’t say specifically where the technology is being deployed today – though it was used in the now-defunct LoveFlutter dating site – but agrees theoretically it could be applied on a dating platform to analyse conversations between two people to give advice on whether or not they are a good match.
“It can provide objective analysis by measuring their interpersonal relationship; it’s not meant to be a decision maker, but can say, in that moment, the two people appeared to have a really great rapport, maybe more so than with another individual,” Glista explains. Babita Spinelli, a licensed psychotherapist and certified coach specialising in relationships, says AI can be really useful for dating, especially when it “really gets to know” an individual user to help them find better matches, but warns that people should use it with caution and not let it hinder their ability to apply critical thinking to relationships.
“People need to consider whether AI really lets them think outside of the box, the way they normally would; is it allowing them to experience the kind of emotion that one would normally do in the dating world?” she asks.
Indeed, Blaine Anderson, a professional dating coach who works only with men, says many of her clients fixate on the algorithms, not wanting to blame themselves for getting poor matches. “They look for something else to attribute that to instead, and the app algorithms are an easy target, particularly because they’re opaque,” she says, adding that there is an “entire bogus industry” based around hacking dating app algorithms to match with supermodels.
The propensity for bias in algorithms is well known. There is the risk that, if not programmed conscientiously or with bias in mind, they could predominantly match people from the same race or by other specific traits.
“AI can be programmed to act ethically. It just does what it’s told,” says Tuffley. “But the reality is humans are not all that good at ethics, because we’re not that clear about those morals to begin with.”
“We’ve seen the unbelievable power of AI, how it can literally flip elections; if companies have the power to do that using it, they can definitely influence people to love someone, so who controls the AI is important,” claims Cheok.
Adrian David Cheok, professor at i-University Tokyo, who previously ran the International Love and Sex with Robots annual conference, goes much further and says that users should be cognizant of the huge influence AI can unwittingly have over them and be wary of how it is being used
All experts agree that, to varying degrees, it’s expected more of people’s love lives will be lived out online and virtually, a trend accelerated by lockdowns and the pandemic.
A survey by dating website Hinge found that at the beginning of the pandemic, almost no users had been on a virtual date. Afterward, close to half (44 per cent) had been on a video date, 65 per cent said they’ll make it routine, and 37 per cent even said they were open to being exclusive with someone before ever meeting in person.
In ong others, announced it was buying Korean app maker Hyperconnect for $1.73bn (?1.29bn), to bring audio and video chat, including group live video, and other livestreaming technologies to several of the company’s brands over the next 12 to 24 months. Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone has said that Tinder could become a platform that provides experiences and “all kinds of other ways for people to get to know each other” .