Dating apps use artificial intelligence to help search for love

A person looks at DonaldDaters, a new dating phone app, which supposedly would help lonely conservatives find each other discreetly. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Dating apps use artificial intelligence to help search for love

  • The online dating sector is turning to artificial intelligence to help arrange meetings in real life
  • Online dating pioneer eHarmony announced it is developing an AI-enabled feature

LISBON: Forget swiping though endless profiles. Dating apps are using artificial intelligence to suggest where to go on a first date, recommend what to say and even find a partner who looks like your favorite celebrity.
Until recently smartphone dating apps — such as Tinder which lets you see in real time who is available and “swipe” if you wish to meet someone — left it up to users to ask someone out and then make the date go well.
But to fight growing fatigue from searching through profiles in vain, the online dating sector is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help arrange meetings in real life and act as a dating coach.
These new uses for AI — the science of programming computers to reproduce human processes like thinking and decision making — by dating apps were highlighted at the four-day Web Summit which wraps up Thursday in Lisbon.
Online dating pioneer eHarmony announced it is developing an AI-enabled feature which nudges users to suggest meeting in person after they have been chatting in the app for a while.
“There is a lot of activity on dating apps but by and large there is not a lot of dates,” eHarmony CEO Grant Langston told the annual tech gathering.
“Guys don’t know how to ask, it’s astounding really how many people need help and we think we can do that in an automated way.”
British dating app Loveflutter plans to use AI to analyze chats between its users to determine their compatibility and suggest when they should meet.
“We will ping a message saying ‘You are getting along really well, why don’t you go on your first date’,” said Loveflutter co-founder Daigo Smith.
Loveflutter already suggests places to go on a first date that are equidistant from both people’s homes using information from Foursquare, an app that helps smartphone users find nearby restaurants, bars and clubs.
“It kind of takes the pressure off organizing that first date,” said Smith.
Tinder founder Sean Rad said AI will “create better user experiences” and predicted iPhone’s Siri Voice assistant would in the future act as a matchmaker.
An entirely voice operated dating app called AIMM which uses AI to mirror a human matchmaking service is already being tested in Denver where it has about 1,000 users.
When you open the app, a soothing voice asks questions about what you like to do on a date or where you would like to travel.
It then suggests suitable matches based on your personality. Once you have picked one you would like to meet, the app tells you about them.
After several days the app will help set up a time for a phone call between you and your match — and give advice for your first date based on what it knows about the other person.
“It will say things like ‘based on her personality inclination she is a traditional person, I would recommend dinner and a walk’,” said Kevin Teman, the app’s developer.
The app also reminds you to ask questions “about the things that are important to you” during the date, he added.
After the date, the app checks in with both people to see how it went and recommend whether they should continue to see each other or keep looking.
Teman hopes to make it available across the United States early next year.
Badoo, a London-based dating app, is now using AI and facial recognition technology to let users find a match that looks like anyone at all, including their ex or celebrity crush.
Users can upload a picture of someone and the app will find lookalikes among Badoo’s more than 400 million users worldwide.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone and singer Beyoncé are the most searched for celebrities globally since Badoo introduced the feature — dubbed Lookalikes — last year.
However not everyone is convinced that AI can aid the search for love.
Among the doubters at the Web Summit was UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he was “a little bit skeptical” it could help “people chose their soul mates.”
“I’m very happy I have chosen my soulmate by traditional methods,” said the former Portuguese prime minister, who is married to a Lisbon city councilor, in his opening address to the gathering on Monday.


Welsh street named steepest in world; New Zealand loses out

Gwyn Headley and Sarah Badham hold a certificate for the record title for world's steepest street, in Harlech, Wales, Britain July 10, 2019, in this handout photo released on July 16, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 17 July 2019
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Welsh street named steepest in world; New Zealand loses out

  • The Welsh campaign was led by businessman and architectural historian Gwyn Headley. He says he feels “jubilation” now that the street has been recognized

LONDON: A street in Wales has been designated the steepest in the world after a successful campaign by residents.
The title comes at the expense of a street in New Zealand, which has apparently been eclipsed in the steepness sweepstakes.
Guinness World Records said Tuesday that the street of Ffordd Pen Llech in the seafront town of Harlech, 245 miles (395 kilometers) northwest of London, has a gradient of 37.45%, two percentage points steeper than the former title holder in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island.
The Welsh campaign was led by businessman and architectural historian Gwyn Headley. He says he feels “jubilation” now that the street has been recognized.
He says he feels sorry for New Zealand, but that “steeper is steeper.”