The very notion of romantic encounters doesn’t immediately conjure up sitting behind a screen to find one’s beloved.
Maybe once there is a great Hollywood romance movie that centers around online dating perceptions can change, but so far, is the most salient Hollywood version of the online dating world, and it serves as a cautionary tale for those who do it (Manti Teo’s fake online romance didn’t help much, either).
Santa Cruz was warm and still as I sat among perfect roses in the backyard of the bride’s parents.At the key moment of this nontraditional Jewish wedding, the friend presiding over the ceremony took a moment to explain the Hebrew word kadosh.Date-mining software needs lots of tuning to create good matches, so the services track everything would-be lovebirds do.Their romantic-data trails become grist for matchmaking improvements.“Imagine if you had a video camera at every bar in the country,” Sam Yagan, a co-founder of Ok Cupid, told me. These are millions of people going about their lives.
“You’d have all these data that reveal things about society and predict them. We just happen to be able to track and quantify everything about it.” The company can quantify things you could guess but might rather not prove.For instance, all races of women respond better to white men than they should based on the men’s looks.Black women, as a group, are the least likely to have their missives returned, but they are the most likely to respond to messages.Gone are the days of yore when chance encounters in our everyday lives brought the potential for romance or love, or when it took weeks, or even months, to find out intimate details of a potential mate’s history and life.Now, with the click of a button and a quick Google or profile search, all of that information is at our fingertips. Is there a cost that comes from taking our chance encounters out of the real world and into the virtual?By drawing on data about the world we live in, they end up reinforcing whatever societal values happen to be dominant, without our even noticing. But we need to be more aware of the algorithmic perversity that’s creeping into our lives.