Bumble President Talks AI, IRL Dating, and Recessions

Tariq Shaukat, Bumble’s President, recently shared his perspective on how AI tools can “remove some of the friction” associated with online dating. He also outlined Bumble’s approach to IRL events and what a potential recession could mean for the online dating industry.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance Live, Shaukat discussed these three key issues:

Cost of Living and Recession Worries

Reporters asked Shaukat that with a potential recession coming this summer, would Bumble be impacted? The Bumble President that past experience has shown “…demand for dating is not just robust, its indestructible”.

He reiterated that humans are always in need of connection, and especially so during a recession where loneliness may rise. Shaukat highlighted that the USA’s surgeon general called national loneliness a “public health priority”.

The Bumble President was also asked whether low-earning individuals are less likely to commit to a paid Bumble subscription. Shaukat responded saying that a paid subscription is value for money, with the cost being relative to a couple of drinks in New York City.

Is IRL Dating a Competitor?

Yahoo Finance reporters asked Shaukat whether offline connections are a competitor to Bumble, especially with the launch of the Pear Ring. Shaukat denied this, saying that IRL dating is a complement to the dating platform, not a competition.

He shares that Bumble’s place is to ensure that before a first date, users are able to connect and get a sense of each other’s vibe. In a post-Covid time where IRL connections are more common, Bumble is trying to improve the quality of offline first dates, he shared.

Uses of Artificial Intelligence

When asked about the impact of AI, Shaukat highlighted that the technology is used as an “assistant” in the dating process. Bumble uses AI to analyse and recommend to users which of their photos is more effective at getting matches.

It also uses AI to find compatible people, driving its new Best Bees section. Best Bees are potential matches that are recommended to a user based on compatibility. In terms of safety, AI can be used to detect bots, Shaukat mentioned.

Watch Shaukat’s full discussion on Yahoo Finance Live here.

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