Love on the Blockchain: Magical internet blockchain robots Valentine’s edition.
Magical Internet Blockchain Robots is a series that describes the capabilities of the blockchain without going into how it works. This edition explains how the future of online dating with blockchain tech can change the way we see and use privacy forever.
Note: The opinions stated here are my own, not those of Google.
The current generation of public regrets has nothing on the coming generation of permanently immutable regrets. Millennials may be used to the idea of a Facebook post ruining their social lives, but the central source of control over these posts give some level of responsibility to the company that stores the content. The next generation, however, will have the blockchain to log their mistakes and activities into antiquity with no one but themselves to hold accountable.
Dating with Magical Internet Blockchain Robots
Consider the old-fashioned way of dating where a friend hooks up two people in real life. In this antiquated method, where humans actually have to know and trust each other, Dater #1 and Dater #2 rely on the recommendation of the third party and decide to go on a date together.
After the date, each dater may then tell their mutual friend if they had a good time or not and whether or not they want to see their friend again. This is the awkward part, because there are feelings and friendships on the line and the daters may not tell the whole truth and the matchmaker may find themselves in the awkward position of having to tell one friend to give up because “they’re just not that into you.”
Now, let’s modernize the system and replace the matchmaker with a magical internet blockchain robot…
Dater #1 swipes right, Dater #2 swipes right, it’s a match made in… the blockchain. The magical internet blockchain robot responsible for putting the two (un?)fortunate souls together can now give them the ability to rate their experiences with each other without having to reveal who they are or that they ever swiped right at all.
No one has to get awkward, they can all tell the truth and no one’s feelings get hurt. Each dater can give their honest opinion about even the most salacious details of their rendezvous and the MIBR will never, ever spill the details or let on that they didn’t have a good time.
Now that we’ve removed pesky feelings and emotions from the matchmaking process, we can see how the next generation of daters will be able to form meaningful relationships without ever having to have an honest conversation.
After their rendezvous, Dater #1 decides that they would very much like to see Dater #2 again and so they tell the magical internet blockchain robot that they had a great time. On the other hand, Dater #2 did not enjoy themselves at all and would like to make sure that they never get matched again with Dater #1 while warning other daters about their obscure taste in music.
The magical internet blockchain robot does not need to remember Dater #1 or Dater #2 at all, instead the MIBR turns the ratings into magical coins and gives them back to the daters. Dater #1 doesn’t know what their coin will give them, but they want to try their luck again at the dating world and so they give their coin back to the MIBR and wait to see their matches.
This time around, they do not see the same person they saw before, instead they see a list of matches with unique musical tastes. Dater #1 gets a chance with Dater #3 and they have a great time dancing to Japanese Polka Fusion.
Dater #2 uses their coin to get another match from the MIBR and is excited by the great matches they receive, they go on wonderful dates and have a great time.
Implications of the “magic coin” privacy system
There are implications to this kind of system: gamification, multiple identities, incentives to lie, and all kinds of interesting problems for other magical internet blockchain robots to try to solve. But, perhaps the most interesting foundational issue is the concept of holding and controlling private data without even knowing what the data is.
The dating data stored in the magic coin is private in one sense that the user has full control over its use, but the contents are private in the sense that they can only be read by the MIBR. This is interesting, because the MIBR has access to information that no human or central authority has access to. For example, the data contained in the magic coin could be extremely intimate, including detailed performance reports, medical information, and very, very specific preferences. This information may not have been added by the owner, or even with their knowledge, but they still retain control over it.
The MIBR can be trusted to read and analyze the data without exposing it and only report a degree of match between two people. This is interesting because it is data generated by someone else, owned completely by you, and only readable by a third party. Of course, MIBRs may use lots of other methods to find you a compatible soul to share the confines of mortality with, but this “magic coin” method above is powerful because it creates a new paradigm in privacy and highlights something that only blockchains can do.