Technology & Relationships in London

Research shows that 40% of Londoners are experiencing loneliness. This is a staggering figure. It seems that although there are many apps and dating sites these are not fulfilling the core need of compatibility and longevity. For many, endless online dating is no more than a numbers game. Men tend to use these apps to boost their ego (particularly after a recent divorce) whereas the goal for most women over 30 tends to be looking for an (equal) long term partner. Both men and women can also use the platform to practice infidelity. With the end goal for both genders so far apart, it is no wonder that there is so much loneliness around.

Research shows that not only can loneliness lead to mental-health issues, but studies have proved that it can also be more dangerous than obesity and smoking. Could it be that technology is making us lonelier? When you visit a restaurant nowadays you see countless families and couples on their smartphones, not even bothering to interact and spend quality time with each other. Dating sites and apps have created a wider and more diverse pool for singles, however has this made it even harder for us to make the leap from a few dates to a committed relationship? It seems that if we do not receive a text or call back within a few hours after a date, we start swiping all over again.

Even the traditional dating sites like Match.com are now promoting more and more events for people to meet face to face, recognizing that possibly online dating is not what the consumers want. It seems that dating apps and sites are not fulfilling their purpose, if that purpose is a committed relationship. The internet has already changed the way we meet people, as it is not uncommon to conduct a relationship via text/telephone for hours before meeting in reality. Is it now time for something new? We need to make romance fun again, encourage interaction and finding shared values again. Dating apps are often free to join and do not have any verification of members, meaning that you have to do a lot of filtering to find genuine compatibility. This can be a time consuming job in itself.

One area that may enhance relationships is virtual reality. We live in a small world, where technology can connect you with someone at the other side of the world in an instant. Virtual Reality has the potential to create an enhancement to the existing online dating offering by creating another environment for people to meet and be together. Gaming is currently a massive area for virtual reality, however other industries are beginning to see the potential that virtual reality could offer their consumers. The British Museum has successfully used virtual reality devices to allow visitors to explore a Bronze Age site. Similarly, the Future of Shopping report claims that shoppers will make all their purchases from home by 2050 and could use virtual reality headsets to try on clothes in virtual changing rooms. It’s just a matter of time before virtual reality relationships becomes as common as Tinder relationships.

If virtual reality platforms gain the ability to instantly translate others speech in real time, it could offer unlimited potential to make new connections around the world. Real world interactions cannot be replaced but virtual reality is the next best thing, since you can invite dozens, even hundreds of people, regardless of geography into a fantastic virtual area to catch up, play games and watch movies together. Are we ready to embrace virtual reality relationships?