Five ways artificial intelligence can improve your dating life


PTI, Jun 7, 2024, 2:14 PM IST

Winnipeg (Canada): Artificial intelligence is going to transform how we date. The question is: will it be for better or worse? It’s already causing some real problems, especially related to “romance scams” and other fraud.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Used in the right way, AI can actually make dating better. It can help write profiles and find matches, provide dating advice and coaching and, if all else fails, become a date companion.

I have spent the last few years studying the impact of technology, and especially AI, on our romantic lives. And I think this is an exciting time to be single and online.

The Kinsey Institute’s annual “Singles in America” survey revealed that 14 per cent of Gen Z-ers, and six per cent of all single people, are already using AI to help with dating. Here are some ways you can use it right now.

AI can help you create a dating profile

Some people are great at making profiles for themselves. They have a knack for writing short self-descriptions that are witty and charming. They can take Instagram-ready selfies, or have friends who are talented photographers.

For the rest of us, though, putting together a profile can be a daunting experience. AI can make things easier. It can help you write your bio and edit crappy selfies into presentable photos. It might even edit out that fish you’re holding for some reason.

While it may feel deceptive, we should view AI as an equalizer. People who want to spend time and money to improve their profile already have lots of ways to do so. AI can provide fast, free assistance to people who can’t make the same investments. It helps us put our best selves forward.

AI can act as a style adviser and dating coach

When OpenAI unveiled its latest chatbot, ChatGPT-4o, the demo featured a man on his way to a job interview who asked a bot for feedback on how he looked. New York Times reporter Kevin Roose regularly turns to his AI companions for a “fit check.” But getting advice on your outfits is just the beginning of what AI can do to help you get ready for your big date. It can suggest places to meet or give you a list of interesting things to do. It can also help come up with topics of conversation and rehearse your banter with you. And it can act as a hype man, to give you some inspiration before you head out the door.

AI can help you find matches

The swipe model for dating apps has not changed in a decade. But AI could finally bring some innovation.

Bumble founder Whitney Herd certainly thinks it will. She recently raised the possibility of what she called “AI dating concierges,” bots that can chat with the bots of possible matches on your behalf to determine compatibility. A company called Volar is already offering an early version of this service.

The prospect of armies of chatbots all talking to each other might seem dystopian, but compare it to the system we have now where users spend on average between three and seven seconds on a single profile before swiping them away forever. And most of these swipes are, let’s face it, based on the first photo.

An AI dating assistant could actually give you matches that are based on common interests or other factors more substantial than just looks. You could train the AI to know your personality, and you could give it a sense of what you’re looking for in a partner. It could chat with the AIs of everyone in your vicinity, and, for the people it thinks might be good matches, it can give you transcripts of these chats. You can take over from there, to actually make contact with a human being.

AI can provide relationship counselling

Dating has its ups and downs. Some of us have a great network of friends or can afford a real-life therapist. Not everyone has these options. AI is always available, even at 2 a.m., when you’ve just been dumped over text. It’s also much cheaper than a human psychologist.

As The Verge reported, one of Character.AI’s bots, The Psychologist, “is one of the most popular on the platform and has received more than 95 million messages since it was created.” It’s just one of many AI counsellors now on the market. While the evidence on the effectiveness of AI therapy is preliminary, it’s quite promising.

AI can actually be your date

Before launching ChatGPT-4o, Sam Altman tweeted a single word: “Her.” This may earn him a lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson, since the chatbot used a voice that sounded a lot like her character from the 2013 movie of that name.

But it’s no accident that the movie, about a man who falls in love with an artificial companion, has become a touchstone in the AI world. People are forming social bonds with chatbots in large numbers. Character AI says that 3.5 million people talk to its bots every day, spending an average of two hours a day on the platform. Another, Replika, reports that it has two million users.

While many people have noticed that the new ChatGPT can get awfully flirty, it does not allow explicitly romantic or sexual conversations. But other chatbots do not have the same restrictions. Replika originally offered an “erotic role play” feature, though it it was disabled in 2023 in response to new regulations in Italy.

But there’s no shortage of competitors. Alex Cardinell, the chief executive of Nomi, another company that makes companion bots, said more than half of Nomi’s users have at least one romantic A.I. companion. Grindr has announced it’s going to build an AI boyfriend directly into its app.

AI and the future of dating

The prospect of people forming intimate relationships with chatbots raises numerous concerns. Privacy is one of the most pressing. But AI companions also have the potential to improve our lives.

Researchers at Stanford University conducted a survey of 1,006 student users of Replika. They found that the overwhelming majority believed that their interactions with the chatbot enhanced their lives, and in some cases, even reduced their thoughts of suicide.

AI assistants and companions won’t be for everyone. But for many people, they can provide a worthwhile addition to their social and romantic lives.

Dating is hard, but as AI gets more sophisticated and becomes integrated into our everyday lives, we shouldn’t be afraid to allow it to lend us a hand. Just don’t forget to thank it at the wedding.

 

Authored By Neil McArthur for The Conversation

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