The future of online dating

An optimistic future

Back in 1967, Philco, an electronics company, created a film to predict what 1999 would look like. If you have 30 minutes to kill, you can watch the video. It’s a bit strange but also interesting it’s an optimistic point of view of the future. Nowadays, future predictions are often dystopian narrative of the end of humanity. But in this film, they show a world where technology supports and helps us achieve our ideals in order to become the better version of ourselves.

With that in mind, how can Online Dating support us in achieving our ideals?

This might seem like a ridiculous thought. But when you think about it, online dating is a means to an end. Why are we even doing it in the first place? In the hope of finding that special someone…right?

Future love

If we were to imagine the future of love, dating, or relationships, your mind might wander to H.E.R., where you could fall in love with your OS. Or you might think about the service love industry in Japan, where you can cuddle with someone without needing the messiness of relationships. Or you might think of Fringe (the TV show), where humans won’t even need to procreate, we’ll just be made in petri dishes and tanks.

It’s a bit ironic really because in all of these instances, there’s a focus on removing humans out of the process and instead, just replicate the experience love. But we also rob ourselves the opportunity to learn how to love, which is really the essence of experiencing love.

I think no matter what technology will continue to play a big role in how we interact with one another. However, we use technology to delegate work, optimize efficiency, and in some ways replace our ability to think and make decisions. I think this is dangerous. If we aren’t improving our ability to make decisions for ourselves, then we lose our intelligence, intuition, and ultimately our humanity.

“You can’t automate your well-being” — John Havens

Currently, the data collected is used to anticipate our consumer needs. Why can’t we collect data to anticipate our what we need to grow as individuals? These are some of the questions brought up in Heartificial Intelligence. John believes that if we find ways to enforce Positive Psychology and Altruistic Algorithms, technology can be designed to support our growth. Can this be applied to online dating?

Future predictions?

The optimistic side of me believes that there will be more equality in dating and less stigmatism against race and gender for example. The pessimistic side of me can’t help but see relationships continue to be in a transactional form to the point where we don’t even need to be together anymore. As with any technology development, there’s usually a counter-culture that will emerge, so maybe matchmaking will be in vogue again. Maybe arranged marriages will seem more appealing. Perhaps we just live our lives in the Matrix and simulate all of our relationships. Maybe we have multiple relationships, ones with humans, and ones with robots. I’m not sure. This isn’t a discussion of what qualifies as love, which is often what society is debating about. I’m more interested in how we can learn to love one another in a world where our time and attention is limited and divided.

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