Love En Match: Your Fate with Algorithms It’s 2021, let Math decide your fate.
Xena Hyacinth E. Estinoso
On the eve of my 22nd birthday, while I was having a little party of my own in my bedroom, a two-year old jazz music playlist played in the background as I sipped on some cheap wine that I bought at the local grocery store earlier that day. I took a leftover slice of my birthday cake, lit the candle, closed my eyes and made a wish once more. Love is not too much for a birthday wish, is it?
ALGORITHMS OVER FATE
Chinese legend tells the story that there is an invisible red string attached to two people’s ankles who are destined to be soulmates and it will be magical when they find each other. The Greeks speak of the humans with four legs and arms and two faces. The god Zeus feared their power so he split them in half and condemned them to spend their lives in search of each other.
Just as the internet has made everything convenient and easy in its time, so is in finding love. Looking for the other end of your invisible red string of fate or your other half is possibly only one swipe away on the internet through the fancy word we know as “algorithm”.
But you’ll be surprised to know that online dating has surfaced as early as the late 1950s and was first commercialized in 1965. Dubbed as “Operation Match”, this online matchmaking service was the brainchild of Harvard students Jeff Tar and Vaughan Morrill. From its humble beginning, Tarr and Morrill used questionnaires and IBM 401 to match students based on their similarities. Later, Operation Match was used by millions of daters who willingly paid $3 to find their match.
Over half a decade later, technology and the internet evolved making online matchmaking and dating more accessible, accurate and convenient. In the 2021 article “How Dating App Algorithms Work to Find The One For You” algorithms are explained as computer calculations which work whether the users of the app are compatible with one another. A computer understands human attraction through the data it collects. Similarly, in an article by the American Mathematical Society, co-founder of OkCupid Christian Rudder, explained that algorithms are used to link two people and examine their compatibility based on a series of questions. The more questions with similar answers two people have, the higher their compatibility.
The 2012 study “Online Dating: A Critical Analysis from the Perspective of Psychological Science” elaborated how online dating has fundamentally changed the dating landscape through the services it offers. Rather than conventionally meeting someone in person to get a snapshot of a person and to know them beyond their name, with online dating one learns facts about a potential partner before deciding to meet them in person.
Currently, one has several options at which dating apps to use. The most popular dating apps to date are Bumble, Tinder and OkCupid. One may opt to choose other applications such as Her, Hinge, Match, and Happn. Each of these have specific features to help you find potential matches.
SWIPE THE TABOO AWAY
In a fast-paced and modern society, breaking the taboo and slowly sneaking in as a norm. More and more mobile users are discovering the infinite possibilities that dating sites and apps can do to their romantic life.
A 2019 survey by Stanford University revealed that 39% of heterosexual couples have met online. Another study by Pew Research Center showed that 1 out of 5 people have found their romantic partners online and it is estimated that by 2040 about 70% of people will have met their partner through online dating.
“Online dating opens opportunities to those people who haven’t been very lucky with “traditional” dating. Personally, I didn’t have the energy or courage to look for potential partners before. I was always afraid and insecure. However, with online dating, it somehow lessened my worries because of the safe interaction as long as you are aware of your limits. I am more relaxed and I can express myself better,” Razel* recalled her memorable first online dating experience with The Augustinian.
Despite the popularity and services that online dating brings, surely it can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Geremy*, a bisexual male who has been online dating platforms since the onset of the pandemic shared his online dating experience with The Augustinian.
“I still have not experienced meeting a person that clicks with my standards nor a person that I vibe with. I think I just had a “bad timing’’ meeting people on this kind of platform or I just don’t have the perfect match yet. And I think I am more compatible with handling a person-to-person slow burn romance,” he recounted his experience and admitted that these failed matches led him to frustratingly install-uninstall these dating apps.
ON THE LINE
On the other side of the coin, online dating has also been armed with pitfalls. A 2019 article by Psychology Professor Kelly Campbell emphasized the downsides of dating. According to Campbell, online dating sets up a disposable view of relationships because of the abundant prospective partners one can find on the platform. It is easier to move from one partner to another when one shows too many flaws.
“The downside on the other hand, is not knowing whether you and your “match” will still vibe when you meet each other personally. There are a lot of factors that can affect and need to be considered. In my experience, I haven’t been very lucky because I became too afraid to take a risk. I just woke up one day and just a snap, the connection between us isn’t there anymore,” Razel further shared with The Augustinian.
The same article also highlighted the heightened risk of deception on these platforms. The likelihood of or misrepresentation is higher because a person can easily lie about their marital status, sexual orientation or physical make up online.
“With online dating, I realized that many people are ‘scams’,” Josephus*, who had been in the online dating scene since 2017, laughed as he recalled his experience. “But then, in this online dating platform you also find new friends and connections that are not really that bad,” he continued.
The cliche “The heart can be deceitful” is true. There can be malice disguised as what we know as love, and there is suffering, pain and doubt we are told to believe is love. Whether the risks are greater online or a little less offline, one thing is certain-- finding companionship, being loved and loving is beautiful and we owe it to ourselves before we owe it to anybody else.
Love is not too much for a birthday wish, is it? I blew out my birthday candle, and just as I was opening my eyes my phone pinged and notified me, “You have a new match!” I was half through my glass of wine, the jazz music continued to play and something beautiful just began.
Published: April 25, 2022