“Hey, do you like ninja turtles?”
It was the first question I asked a girl I fell in love with when I was 16. To this day, I’m not quite sure how or why armored reptiles are what came to mind. But it was this question that set the tone for the whole conversation afterwards: confused, incoherent, and ending with me desperately saying, “Let’s talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again someday.”
That was the last time I spoke to him about the turtles. In fact, that was the last time I spoke to him, period.
It was clear that I needed help socializing with the ladies. I turned to my friends for advice, but they knew even less about what girls wanted than me. I searched the library, but couldn’t find enough help there either.
What I realize now is that my son will not have the same problems as me, because he will have the help of artificial intelligence. In fact, this kind of help already exists.
Artificial intelligence is beginning to reshape the dating world as it is in other areas. Apps like Tinder and Bumble are still the most common, but you can see the next generation of ‘love’ apps emerging: one where the app doesn’t just recommend matches, but helps the user along the way. along the process.
The AIMM app for example provides a good example of future dating. The user cannot simply download it and immediately start looking for love. The app must first learn more about the user, which it does through voice conversations that span a week. During this week, the app poses him hypothetical challenges, asks him about his favorite place to live in the future, asks him what his desires are in life, inquires about his sexual preferences and many more. other things than even the most persistent aunt. wouldn’t ask. And no, the Ninja Turtles are not mentioned at any time.
After this phase of initiation to artificial intelligence, the application begins to connect the users best suited to each other based on data that specifies their desires and needs. The app then provides instructions on how to proceed.
Another app, Mei, also provides heartfelt advice. As the app developers write: “Mei uses algorithms to analyze text messages on your phone.” Mei can also help you interpret romantic situations, or at least those likely to turn romantic.
Now, it looks like both of these apps were ahead of their time and maybe even overkill in their capabilities. Nevertheless, they offer us a glimpse of the future: a future where even the shyest and least social of us can find love.
Will humans fall in love with chatbots in the future?
Recently, the dismissal of engineer Blake Lemoine from Google hit the headlines, after he claimed the company’s chatbot “gave feelings” and even yearned to be recognized as an employee and demanded to be treated as a person and not as the property of Google. Google ultimately decided to terminate his employment because he leaked internal documents to third parties. But following the case that caused an uproar in the world of technology, the subject of human-bot interactions returned to the discussions. In recent years, bot technologies have become more sophisticated to the point that they have developed unique characteristics that can easily identify the person standing in front of them and easily provide answers and other essential information to technology companies.
But why stop there?
In a world where artificial intelligence can provide advice on love and relationships, why wouldn’t companies create virtual chatbots and avatars that would be especially easy for humans to fall in love with?
This may seem like a ridiculous evolution: will humans really fall in love with robots and artificial intelligence? But our current reality suggests that such a future is already on the way. Luka, for example, is a company that produces chatbots called “replicas” that are personalized for each user and accompany them throughout their lives. Some users have expressed that they experience feelings of loneliness if they don’t talk and share their feelings and thoughts with the chatbot at least once a day. Company management receives frequent messages from users convinced that the artificial intelligence they are talking to is self-aware and perhaps has developed genuine feelings for them as well.
The day such chatbots are integrated into a robotic body, I have no doubt that there will be people who choose to have full romantic relationships with these robots. And if not in the physical world, then most certainly in virtual reality. We hear of such cases from time to time in countries like Japan and South Korea.
Does our future seem a little strange? Yes, but it will also be overflowing with love between humans and robots.
The sweeping game
When you open your Tinder, sophisticated algorithms start doing calculations for you. Their purpose is twofold: on the one hand, they want to serve you by connecting you with other users who are looking for love and whose chances of being liked by you are particularly high. On the other hand, they must also serve Tinder itself and ensure that even if you are one of the most desirable “players” on Tinder, your profile will still be displayed in a limited way, so that you do not don’t exhaust yourself”. inventory’ of other available profiles.
How exactly do these algorithms work? The simple answer is that we don’t know for sure since companies like Tinder keep it top secret. From what we know, in the past, Tinder used the Elo rating, which is a method of calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games like chess. In general, we can say that every time someone swiped right on your photo (i.e. confirmed their attraction to you), it caused you to “win” the game and increased your desirability score in the system.
The algorithm has undergone many changes since then, and today – at least according to the limited information released by company executives at conferences – it is called TinVec. The algorithm still learns from each user’s swipes but also considers the characteristics of swipers and those being swiped. It organizes users in a multidimensional vector space that includes a reference to each user’s data and preferences and tries to find the nearest neighbors for each user. The system is also supported by Word2Vec, the user model which uses associations and keywords from long texts to learn more about the user. The algorithm again organizes users in a vector space, but this time according to language, style and words that repeat themselves in different profiles.
Judging from the considerable success of Tinder, we can conclude that their algorithms work well in matching complete strangers. And yet, it is difficult not to also think about the possible negative consequences. Research by OkCupid showed in 2014 that in the United States there is discrimination against black women and Asian men. We can guess that Tinder’s artificial intelligence – which learns users’ preferences, reproduces them and amplifies them – will only reinforce these negative patterns. If you’re a black woman in a world that doesn’t like black women, then your ranking will be so low that the most desirable men will never see you. If, for example, there is a stigma against wearing glasses in society, then these users will lose all hope of being in contact with attractive potential spouses. Artificial intelligence will in fact reinforce and perpetuate existing social preferences and it will do so without any transparency. In recent years, many criticisms have been leveled at dating apps for intensifying discrimination on racial or social grounds.
Is this the matchmaker we want?
When my child grows up, he will be able to find love more easily thanks to the artificial ‘matchmaking aunties’ that are currently on the market. They will help and guide it, but they can also narrow its pool and lead it in harmful directions such as those that perpetuate inequality and discrimination. However, we must remember that many couples have found and will continue to find love through various dating apps.
I’d like to think I could trust my child to make the right choices in life, but let’s face it: humans don’t have a good track record with these kinds of challenges, especially when they involve love and sex. We must invest in educating our children to take a critical look at the recommendations of artificial intelligence in all areas – including love – but also work to unlock the algorithmic secrets that many companies hide in their cabinets. of servers. You are not obligated to reveal trade secrets, but you must ensure that the algorithms do not cause harm to any individual or business.
Written by Dr. Roey Tzezana, Researcher at Tel Aviv University and Lead Methodology at SparkBeyond