TL;DR — Dating apps are awful. There, I said it.
Dating apps have provided a way for humans to meet others for another questionably awful attempt at meeting ‘the one’. This presents a variety of issues that highlight the problems with computers trying to be ‘human’
Humans are broken
You know that aisle in the supermarket, where all the unsold, nearly past its sell by, patently unsellable or damaged food is sitting waiting to be taken off the shelf? That’s basically a metaphor for the type of people on most basic dating apps. A Mos Eisley cantina of broken dreams. More baggage than Heathrow Arrivals.
Here’s the thing. We are all damaged. The trick is finding someone that is damaged in the same way as you are. Dating apps wont do this for you.
Dating apps wont tell you which dating apps are suitable for you
If you are not sure which dating apps to use, please consider this crass and quite frankly offensive and snobbish ‘ digital to analogue converter’, based on traditional places to meet potential suitors, based on socio-economic, cultural and education stereotypes.
Theory: Where you used to go to meet people for dates is essentially your guide to which dating apps to use
Dating apps — Digital to analogue converter (patent pending)
Plenty of Fish — Wetherspoons
Tinder — Slug and Lettuce
Bumble — Gastro Pub
Hinge — Wine Bar
Elite Singles — Champagne/oyster bar
Seriously if you are looking for someone who knows which knife is the fish knife, then maybe Scotts is right up your Straße. If you want to get pissed on cheap alcohol and enjoy some drunk fruit machine frottage, stick to The Moon Under Water. It’s science.
Humans are generally a bit awful
According to anthropologists, humans are inherently tribal, monogamy is a social construct and we rely on variable rewards, all driven by our connectedness with other people. The rewards make us feel accepted, attractive, important and included.
Dating apps don’t help you get better at dating
This is the bit I don’t get, technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Finding someone is the easy part, not fucking it up is the ballgame. How about a feature that uses an algorithm (science) to suggest an appropriate first date idea.
I suggest going on a first date at your local big supermarket:
- You get to see if your food choices are compatible
- You get your first argument out of the way
- You get your weekly big shop done.
- You get to do the shopping cart (trolley)test.
Computers are not ‘human’
The Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
There are a few issues with this, as computers don’t understand or cannot quantify or qualify, the most basic of human traits. Empathy, jealousy, envy, anxiety etc are all part of the way a human being operates emotionally.
The variables of ‘matching’ are wrong
Dating apps make you fill in a bunch of variables so they can match you with other suitable people. What is your favourite food, what are your hobbies etc, all pretty standard stuff. The issue is that matching people is almost soley based on chemistry. Chemistry is a biological filter that transcends even looks. You have no control over who you have chemistry with, and that principally defines who you are attracted to.
Dating apps don’t contain alcohol
Yeah this is a stretch, but hear me out: Your inherent choices whilst a bit ‘lubricated’ have all the chutzpah and confidence that you lack when sober. You should be picking potential suitors with at least one decent drink in you.
Dating apps don’t know your relationship history
This is where dating apps need to learn from LinkedIn. LinkedIn has your entire employment history from graduation to today. Imagine this for dating apps. You list all your previous relationships, rate them on a variety of skills and have references for the good ones who don't hate you.
Filters. Damn Filters
As I touched on in my last prose ‘Hyperreality and dating’, people don’t look like their pictures. They are projecting a ‘Hyperreality’ where they look younger, smoother and obviously digitally ‘tweaked’. This is going to be disastrous when you meet up and inevitably don’t find them attractive.
Dating apps need to be able to ascertain whether your photos are genuine or duplicitous. There is new technology for identifying fake photos and videos, but an official system of verification is sorely lacking.
Ok lets wrap this up
Dating apps are really not tackling the most important issues. People are so much better in person, a textual conversation lacks finesse, we all need a shot of gin before we swipe about, and don’t try to punch above your weight.