Developers Create ‘MonsterMatch’ to Highlight Algorithmic Bias

Two game developers have created an online dating simulator to expose some of the flaws in the matching algorithms that are used by most mainstream dating apps. They want to get people thinking differently about how these products are working and controlling the population’s love lives.

‘MonsterMatch’ players create their own mythical creature to put into the fictional dating app and design every aspect of the character, such as body-type, facial features and name. The creators said they chose monsters to emphasise the uniqueness and diversity of every profile.

Like most dating apps, users swipe right and left before engaging in conversation with their matches.

However, information will appear on the screen explaining how the activity is impacting what the algorithm will show. For example, which characteristics will be hidden in the future.

The process is known as ‘collaborative filtering’ and can be found in many different digital spaces, such as music and video streaming. It has been criticised for excluding large groups of people based on a small amount of user input.

The creators of MonsterMatch said in a statement: “Collaborative filtering can have unintended consequences, especially when the algorithm is recommending human beings and not just movies or products.

“The algorithm can narrow options based on other people’s prior choices, in turn discriminating against racial, ethnic and sexual orientation minorities.”

Tinder announced in March that it was changing its algorithms and removing the ‘Elo Scores’, which reportedly ranked users on their desirability. It did not disclose how the new system was going to work.

‘Demon House of Dates’ is another dating app simulator that was recently released, this time replacing human singles with demonic creatures.

Read more here.