AI and dating may be a match made in heaven.
What’s new: Several new apps put deep learning at the center of finding a mate, Bloomberg reported. Some provide chatbot surrogates while others aim to offer matches.
Automated wingmates: The reporter tested four apps, each of which targets a different aspect of budding romance.
- Blush aims to help prospective daters build confidence before jumping into a dating app. Users can flirt with chatbots that express distinct tastes, like “I’m the girl your mother warned you about” and “Love a good conversation with food and wine.” Users can chat with a limited number of characters for free or pay $14.99 monthly for unlimited characters and “dates.”
- The dating app Iris matches portraits of people whom a user finds attractive. Users start by rating faces in a library. An AI system learns the user’s preferences and rates prospective partners’ faces accordingly to return a lineup of the top 2 percent. Users can access up to 10 prospects at a time for free; a premium subscription, which costs $5.99 per month, allows users to view an unlimited number.
- Teaser AI — which its publisher withdrew shortly after its debut —was designed to streamline awkward initial conversations by letting users train a chatbot replica of themselves to engage potential dates before they engaged directly. Users personalized their stand-ins by answering questions like “are you rational or emotional?” and “are you reserved or gregarious?” and conversing with a test chatbot. Teaser AI since has been replaced by a “personal matchmaker” app called Mila.
- If your dating efforts end in heartbreak, Breakup Buddy aims to help you heal. Users can chat with a version of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 fine-tuned to provide support and advice for moving on. After a three-day free trial, Breakup Buddy costs $18 per month, less for three- and six-month plans.
Behind the news: While dating keeps humans in the loop, some chatbots are designed to replace human interaction entirely. For instance, Anima and Romantic AI offer virtual romantic partners. Replika, an earlier virtual companion service built by the developers of Blush, went platonic in March but shortly afterward re-enabled erotic chat for customers who had signed up before February.
Why it matters: Romance has evolved with communications technology, from handwritten letters to dating apps. Ready or not, AI has joined the lover’s toolkit. For users, the reward may be a lifetime mate. For entrepreneurs, the prize is access to a market worth $8 billion and growing at over 7 percent annually.
We’re thinking: AI has beneficial uses in dating, but users may form emotional bonds with chatbots that businesses then exploit for financial gain. We urge developers to design apps that focus on strengthening human-to-human relationships.
This story originally appeared in the September 27, 2023 edition of The Batch.