The Financial Times has published an article on virtual reality and artificial intelligence dating as part of its ‘How will we live in 2050’ series.
Dating apps are already using AI in a number of ways, such as providing users with a better curated list of potential matches or analysing conversations and prompting couples to take their relationships offline.
The Financial Times wanted to explore how these trends could develop in the future. Specifically, their analysis focused on determining whether technology could end up replacing physical interaction.
There are some concerns that this might already be the case. In 2015, a survey from the Japanese Ministry of International Affairs found that 40% of respondents under the age of 30 would at least consider using a robot companion to combat loneliness.
Professor Björn Schuller, an AI expert from Imperial College London, told the Financial Times:“As [robots] become more socially and emotionally competent, we will naturally begin to feel more empathetic towards them.
“As we speak, machines are being trained to understand humans better, through the tone of a person’s voice, their facial expressions, their heart rate. We will effectively be competing against machines for attention and I’m not sure how we’ll do.”
Virtual reality is currently being developed to help long-distance couples connect in a realistic environment. It could also be used for online daters to go on first dates without needing to commit to going out together for a whole evening.
Professor Adrian Cheok explained to the Financial Times: “People want to be connected. If someone’s logged into this virtual world and is, for all intents and purposes, ‘sitting in front of you’, giving you their full attention, regardless of whether they’re not physically there, it will be a satisfying encounter.”
At the end of last year, eharmony estimated that 70% of all new couples will meet online by 2040.
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