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One Big Question: What will dating be like in 20 years?

One Big Question: What will da...
Although our mobile devices already play a role in how we date today, tomorrow's pairings might involve our smart showers and refrigerators
Although our mobile devices already play a role in how we date today, tomorrow's pairings might involve our smart showers and refrigerators
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Although our mobile devices already play a role in how we date today, tomorrow's pairings might involve our smart showers and refrigerators
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Although our mobile devices already play a role in how we date today, tomorrow's pairings might involve our smart showers and refrigerators

You might not think your crock pot or your refrigerator would have a whole lot to do with your love life, but as we enter the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices can collect data about our behaviors that might actually help match us with our ideal partners. To explore this idea further, as part of our regular feature called One Big Question, we reached out to Romain Bertrand, UK Country Manager at the UK's branch of popular dating site eHarmony. Bertrand and a team of researchers at Imperial College London recently compiled a report about how the IoT will be affecting our dating habits going forward.

We asked him just what the dating landscape would look like in the next 20 years and specifically how connected devices might shape it. Here's what he had to say.

When looking forwards at how people go about finding love over the next twenty years, it's useful to first look backwards. Tech has changed an unprecedented amount in recent years – and romantic conventions with it. When eHarmony launched in 2007 in the UK, it was into a world that had only just witnessed the birth of the iPhone.

It is reasonable then to expect this exponential level of change to continue apace as we look to the future. These further advances in technology will bring ever-greater changes in how we meet potential partners.

The eHarmony.co.uk algorithm already connects members using 29 dimensions of compatibility – factoring in their beliefs, core values and key personality traits to create deeper connections and as a result, meaningful relationships that will stand the test of time.

In the recent Future of Dating report from eHarmony.co.uk and Imperial College London, we dove further into smart technology, and its implications for the pursuit of love.

Smart technology has evolved at an incredible pace – in fact there are an estimated 6.4 billion connected devices worldwide. But many potential applications remain untapped as uptake steadily increases.

As more people build a 'smart home' device by device, the data available will crucially help narrow the gap between who you think you are, and who you actually are, leading to far more rewarding romantic choices.

Looking at the specifics of what this means, such data could be used to provide accurate insight into personality traits, helping to give us an even fuller picture of what makes two people truly compatible.

You may be forgiven for asking how the settings on a smart shower or the food in your smart fridge can tell you things about yourself than many other forms of self-assessment, but much can be understood based on our choices, lifestyle and views.

For example, a smart shower may reveal a lot about cleanliness, which correlates strongly with levels of conscientiousness but also organization. Equally, whether you keep your fridge full and organized or end up adding food in fits and bursts can give clues on whether you're a spontaneous person, how busy you are and culinary prowess.

Other devices that we'd already recognize in the home, such as smart televisions, could also build on compelling data. For instance, research suggests that similar tastes in films, which we attach great emotional importance to, can be a key indicator in a couple's mutual psychological make-up.

But while the means and method behind finding love might see further change, the human heart will likely stay the same, and as such, what works between two people in terms of compatibility won't be too different.

The challenge for us in the future will be to understand how all this new data provided by the 'Internet of Things' relates to what scientists now call deeper learning, helping us to better understand the behavior of people and how this relates to attraction.

It's very encouraging to see that what started with scientifically-advanced tools such as eHarmony's compatibility algorithm, will continue to evolve making use of the array of possibilities that the 'smart era' has to offer.

4 comments
FernandoArdenghi
The 3 milestone discoveries of the 2001 - 2010 decade for Theories of Romantic Relationships Development are: I) Several studies showing contraceptive pills users make different mate choices, on average, compared to non-users. "Only short-term but not long-term partner preferences tend to vary with the menstrual cycle" II) People often report partner preferences that are not compatible with their choices in real life. (Behavioural recommender systems or other system that learns your preferences are useless) III) What is important in attracting people to one another may not be important in making couples happy. Compatibility is all about a high level on personality similarity between prospective mates for long term mating with commitment. The key to long-lasting romance: COMPATIBILITY is exactly STRICT PERSONALITY SIMILARITY and not "meet other people with similar interests". WorldWide, there are over 5,000 -five thousand- online dating sites but no one is using the 16PF5 (or similar) to assess personality of its members! but no one calculates similarity with a quantized pattern comparison method! but no one can show Compatibility Distribution Curves to each and every of its members! but no one is scientifically proven! No actual online dating site is "scientifically proven" because no one can prove its matching algorithm can match prospective partners who will have more stable and satisfying relationships -and very low divorce rates- than couples matched by chance, astrological destiny, personal preferences, searching on one's own, or other technique as the control group in a peer reviewed Scientific Paper for the majority (over 90%) of its members. but no one can show you a list of compatible persons like this: ( for a prospective male customer / sample but calculated with real values) “Over 1,000,000 million women database, here is the list of the 12 more compatible with you. Notice that woman#1 is the most compatible with you but she could be more compatible with other men right now. woman#01 is 95.58476277% compatible woman#02 is 95.56224356% compatible woman#03 is 95.52998273% compatible woman#04 is 94.18354278% compatible woman#05 is 93.00453871% compatible woman#06 is 93.00007524% compatible woman#07 is 92.99738452% compatible woman#08 is 92.37945551% compatible woman#09 is 92.29779173% compatible woman#10 is 92.27114287% compatible woman#11 is 92.19515551% compatible woman#12 is 92.12249558% compatible” The Online Dating Industry does not need a 10% improvement, a 50% improvement or a 100% improvement. It does need "a 100 times better improvement" The only way to revolutionize the Online Dating Industry is using the 16PF5 normative personality test, available in different languages to assess personality of members, or a proprietary test with exactly the same traits of the 16PF5 and expressing compatibility with eight decimals (needs a quantized pattern comparison method, part of pattern recognition by cross-correlation, to calculate similarity between prospective mates.) High precision in matching algorithms is precisely the key to open the door and leave the infancy of compatibility testing. Without offering the NORMATIVE 16PF5 (or similar test measuring exactly the 16 personality factors) for serious dating, it will be impossible to innovate and revolutionize the Online Dating Industry All other proposals are NOISE and perform as placebo. Regards, Fernando Ardenghi. Buenos Aires, Argentina. ardenghifer AT gmail DOT com
Timelord
In the year 2035, ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife. You'll pick your son, pick your daughter, too, from the bottom of a long glass tube.
Daishi
I feel like people that have watched the Black Mirror series would answer this differently than those who haven't. I am friends with all the people I went to HS with on FB and I check up on how people are doing sometimes. I went to my HS class reunion and old friends are introducing me to their SO's and telling me what's going on in their lives and at times I felt like I could be finishing their sentences because I already knew despite not seeing them for 10 years. The online stalking is already real. I had this conversation with a coworker so I said I saw a cute cashier today and all I know about her is her fist name (nametag) and where she works. I wanted to see if I could find her online and see how much I could learn about her in a few hours. The results were alarming. As Google and Facebook invest more in AI to sell hyper specific ads to people and track their every action on and off their platforms and now in their homes how much of that juicy detailed personal data stays out of reach of prying eyes over the next 20 years? Every aspect of our lives with be analyzed and compiled and listed for sale to advertisers and marketers. How long before potential partners are able to obtain access to some of this information before people ever meet in person? Tinder is right about one thing though, people need a photo and not much more to decide if they are attracted to a person. That's millions of years of evolution at work and that's not going to change in the next 20 years.
Bob Flint
Beings will evolve into extensions of ourselves, and simply think of ways to amuse, and liberate our feeble minds, perhaps swiping and touching android clones of our imagination & desires....