Since my dating days were before dating became an online thing and literally before online was a thing, I haven't really kept up with dating and technology.
I have friends who got divorced and dipped back into dating and used online dating apps. Over 300 million people use dating apps worldwide, according to a 2023 report by Business of Apps. To visualize this figure, it’s almost the entire population of the U.S. or half of Europe’s population.
Tinder is an online dating and geosocial networking application launched in 2012. On Tinder, users “swipe right” to like or “swipe left” to dislike other users’ profiles. A profile has their photos, a short bio, and some of their interests. Tinder uses a “double opt-in” system, also called “matching”, where two users must like each other before they can exchange messages. In 2022, Tinder had 10.9 million subscribers and 75 million monthly active users.
Renate Nyborg was Tinder’s first female CEO, but she recently left the popular dating app and launched Meeno which is described as relationship advice rather than dating. For example, you might ask for advice about dealing with your boss. The Meeno app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve relationship problems. She predicts that the future will be less about online dating and more about real-life encounters.
The numbers for online dating are huge but Nyborg and others see a trend (with Gen Z in particular – 18 to 25-year-olds) that they are more interested in meeting people organically.
When she left Tinder, she had said she wanted to use tech to “help people feel less lonely” and dating is only a part of that. According to a 2023 report on loneliness commissioned by the European Commission, at least 10% of European Union residents feel lonely most of the time. A Pew Research study revealed that 42% of adults surveyed in the US said they had felt lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, Meeno is intended to be your mentor, distinct from a virtual girlfriend, boyfriend, clinical therapist, or coach.
What can AI do in all this? Broadly, AI can speed up the processing of all these apps. It can analyze very quickly user behavior patterns and datasets to identify potential matches based on shared interests, values, and preferences. AI can filter profiles for inappropriate content, such as nudity or hate speech. It can analyze a user’s swiping patterns, interests, answers to questions, and personality results to introduce them to tailored recommendations.
There are other apps, like Blush, Aimm, Rizz, and Teaser AI, that use personality tests and physical type analysis to train AI-powered systems. Some apps use machine learning algorithms to scan for attraction and then suggest images of real people that the app thinks the user might find attractive. these are more for “dating” than everyday relationships which is Meeno’s current target.
This post first appeared in a different format on Weekends in Paradelle