• Dr. Timothy Smith

Will AI Give You the Edge in Dating?


Photo Source: Max Pixel

Today, artificial intelligence stands as the rising star propelling internet dating. Already, online dating companies at their hearts are technology companies that use massive computing power to support the millions of singles looking for love across the nation. Analyzing each client’s preferences and personality profile, the computer behind the dating site starts the process of finding a match based on shared interests and traits. Additionally, as users select people to contact, the machines learn more about one's preferences. Using personal information and preferences, the suggestions of who you might date become more refined. The method is called machine learning. Amazon and Netflix use similar artificial intelligence to recommend products and movies based on what you and other people like you chose to buy. Your purchasing patterns will match you with people similar to you. Online dating works the same way.

Online dating ranks as the second most popular way to meet people in the US behind the old-fashioned way of through friends and family. The variety of dating sites continues to expand from the well-established eHarmony and Match.com to Tinder and Bumble. Over 40 million Americans have used an online dating site, and the trend is going up across all sectors and age groups with significant increases in both the younger ages from 18-24 (22%) and the older people from 55-64 (5%) according to the Pew Research Center.

Clearly, internet dating continues to rise in popularity, but getting a date constitutes only the beginning of the dating game. After the date gets set, can AI help to make a date go better? In other words, can AI also help you be more charming, attractive, or sexy? For fun, when getting ready for a date, you can prepare by having practice conversations with AI powered chatterbots like Cleverbot with its female avatar called Evie (eviebot.com) or male avatar called Boibot or another chatterbot called Mitsuku. Chatterbots use artificial intelligence to learn from thousands of conversations about how to talk and respond like a human. One such chatterbot, Mitsuku, developed by Steve Worswick, holds sufficiently realistic conversations that it won the the Loebner prize for artificial intelligence. Worswick adds that many people use Mitsuku to practice learning English, but young adults often talk with Mitsuku about their worries and fears, and others use these chatterbots to practice talking to boys or girls.

You also need to look good for a date, and shortly AI may help suggest the best outfit to wear. Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego uses artificial intelligence to learn a person’s style and even recommend other styles. In an article by Jackie Snow in the MIT Technology Review titled. “This AI Learns Your Fashion Sense and Invents Your Next Outfit,” the author describes an AI system that learns style preferences from purchases made online and then creates images of suggested new outfits fit to an individual’s figure and preferences. Using personal information and fashion trends AI such as Alibaba’s FashionAI can recommend clothes based on what one has brought into the dressing room. Described as a highly tech-based pilot store in Hong Kong, FashionAI not only uses smart tags on the clothing that tell computers all the details of the garment, but the tags have gyro sensors to tell the computer which clothes get touched or moved. Gregory Magana for Business Insider notes in “Alibaba is piloting fashion AI technology,” that the store also employs smart mirrors that convey information about the clothes being tried on as well as suggesting other clothes to make an outfit.

With AI driving the thriving online dating companies, it makes sense that AI will also affect other aspects of dating. Chatterbots can help the shy and nervous prepare for a date by having practice conversations with chatterbot avatars such as Eviebot or Mitsuku. Moreover, artificial intelligence continues to enter the fashion industry with machines getting more involved in the shopping experience and suggesting outfits based on personal preference and current fashion trends. Machine learning performs better with more data. Perhaps the dating sites will team up with the chatterbots, fashion tools, and more to find even better matches for people looking to date. Perhaps it may go too far. In a recent conversation between the author Kathleen Chaykowski of Forbes and the CEO of Tinder, Sean Rad, summarized in an article on Startup Grind titled, “The Future of Dating Is Artificial Intelligence,” Mr. Rad suggests that new dating apps will know you better than yourself. He says the days of swiping and searching may be over and the apps will flatly tell you who to date. I think that such total surrender to the machine may go too far. People need people, and getting ready for a date with the help of a friend remains more fun and fulfilling than with machines alone.

Dr. Timothy Smith

Dr. Smith’s career in scientific and information research spans the areas of bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, toxicology, and chemistry. He has published a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers. He has worked over the past seventeen years developing advanced analytics, machine learning, and knowledge management tools to enable research and support high level decision making. Tim completed his Ph.D. in Toxicology at Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Washington.

You can buy his book on Amazon in paperback and in kindle format here.

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