Cybernews podcast #26: Love, Apps + Robots

Want to finally settle? Get married? Find another wife or husband? Quite obviously, this is an important decision. And chances are, in order to find the one, you’re going to do it online – especially if you’re under or around 30.

In late 2023, the Pew Research Center issued a report revealing that one in ten adults in the US (one in five under the age of 30) who are in a serious relationship met through online dating.

The industry is huge. Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid – these are, of course, the classic dating sites and apps – but artificial intelligence (AI) has also supposedly improved the experience and your chances of meeting someone.

The newest episode of the Cybernews podcast revolves around online dating 2.0 – how does the rise of AI change the digital romance industry?

There are AI relationship coaches like Meeno and assistant apps like Rizz that suggest responses for dating app users. There are also projects like SciMatch that help the user to narrow down the very large pool of potential partners, and, of course, you can just chat to – or flirt with – an AI.

On the other hand, 10% of people in relationships that started online is not a lot, really. Besides, online dating companies are not truly interested in releasing data on how many users indeed find relationships through their services because the data might not reflect favorably on their success rate.

There’s also a recent study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that found that people who meet on dating apps have less stable marriages or long-term relationships than individuals who meet offline – that is, through family, friends, pubs, or clubs.

Which way is better? Dating apps basically mean endless choices. One looks at hundreds or thousands of pictures and descriptions next to hundreds or thousands of user profiles – and one always wants more.

“They want to keep you hooked on the platform for as long as possible. They want you to stay on the app and keep playing. If you get into an actual relationship and delete the app – what’s in it for them?” asks Paulina Okunytė, a journalist at Cybernews, who has experimented with AI-supported dating apps, too.

“I honestly believe that these apps are not made to help you meet a significant other. It was built to hijack our dopamine release system.”

GIntaras Radauskas, a senior journalist at Cybernews, concurs: “These matchmaking platforms work not because they’re accurate but because people think that the algorithm knows better than them. We trust the computer more than our own heart and taste.”

Damien Black, another senior journalist at Cybernews, concurs. “I just find that incredibly depressing – the idea that we’ve now just accepted the suggestion that the great big tech platform in the sky knows us better than we know ourselves,” he said.

Either way, even if you decide to try out online dating, be careful. Romance scams are costlier every year – in 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam and reported losses hitting a staggering $1.3 billion.

What if that attractive guy is just a deepfake? Or a scammer? Do your research before falling in love – unless it’s the bots you’re looking for. For more, tune in:

More from Cybernews:

Apple iPhone to get clamshell makeover

Tech layoffs full steam ahead in 2024

Danish schools will stop sending student data to Google

AI Safety Institute leaders named by US Commerce Dept

US charges Iranians with tech smuggling​

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