Is AI the Future of Online Dating?

Ever struggled to come up with the perfect first message? In the online-dating epoque, finding a way to project yourself – all the wit and flirtatious charm that makes you you – into that singular line of typed-out text has become just another part of the daily tedium. A postmodern micro-ritual of courtship tinged in the techno-dystopian existentialism that defines our 21st century. 

So, if you’ve ever found formulating that first message an impossible task, the answer to all your problems, as with most problems nowadays, might be artificial intelligence. And just when online dating couldn’t feel any more artificial. Per its latest evolution, OpenAI’s posterchild AI language model GPT-4, which can generate free-style prose and conversation to a human-level fault, can be integrated and inserted into other websites and apps, Snapchat’s recent (and controversial) addition of a ‘My AI’ friend powered by ChatGPT being one example of this shift in action. OKCupid, meanwhile, has pushed ahead to become the first dating app to liaise with OpenAI’s chatbot to help pair together potential lovers. Dating and kinship is going artificial.

If chatbots really are capable of mimicking individual speaking patterns and ways of thinking as their inventors claim them to be, so much so that they can now identify who a user is referencing when fed a random quote, we envision a future where all your virtual flirting can be done for you. We’re not the first to think this either: 29-year-old software engineer Anthony Riera has already developed an AI bot that talked to 35 of his Tinder matches for him (although only one ultimately asked ‘him’ out). And, if you ask ChatGPT “Can you give me a witty pickup line?”, you will be graced with such winners as “Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you, everyone else disappears” or “Is your name Wi-Fi? Because I’m really feeling a connection”. For full journalistic disclosure, though, I’m yet to put either of these to the test.

The point is that, even if AI hasn’t yet mastered the fragile art of seduction, the seeds are certainly being sown, and when artificial intelligence is already capable of driving cars, beating chess champions, and even reading minds, a Her-esque future of people flirting and perhaps even falling in love with and through AI chatbots might not be that far away. So maybe sometime soon you won’t even have to worry about that first, or second, or even third message. You can just sit back, do your nails, and let love fall at your feet. That is, of course, until it comes to the in-person meet-up, but that’s a problem for another time. As long as you can come up with a bit of your own, human-generated conversation, you’ll be fine.

Or, maybe it’s best to skip the dating apps altogether. Studies find that Gen Z are already more and more often finding dates beyond the dating app zeitgeist, whether that be through other apps like Instagram or just in their own friendship groups. Besides, per OKCupid’s own numbers, 7 in 10 daters think that using artificial intelligence to create your profile or message is a violation of trust, and 52% don’t think artificial intelligence can replace interpersonal human interaction. The revolution is here, but maybe Tinder and its cohorts are safe for now. 

Article by Jude Jones

Jude Jones is a staff writer and social media manager at GAY45. He is also an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge researching the literary, visual, and academic cultures of HIV/AIDS in Britain, France, and the USA.



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