Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Romance is Anything but Artificial

Our Interconnected Planet

Head’s up, forgetful ones: Valentine’s Day is today. It is a holiday that actually harks back to Pagan, Roman and Christian origins, all of which seem to involve someone being martyred though probably not a good excuse for forgetting to bring your partner flowers and candy. Despite this somewhat dark and murky beginning, Valentine’s Day is a tradition that is now celebrated by exchanging flowers, candy, cards and other tokens in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated in the 17th century and by the mid-18th century, it was commonplace for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By 1900, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology and now approximately 150 million cards are exchanged annually. Last year, total spending for the holiday topped $18.2 billion, an average of $136.57 per person. Romance, it turns out, is big business. Global revenues from on-line dating is expected to top more than $1.3B in 2018.

When it comes to the pursuit of love, technology has made a far more advancements than just flowery cards and printing. In just one short decade, cultural perception of on-line dating has gone from a somewhat negative belief that only desperate people peruse on-line dating sites to the majority of Americans holding a far more moderate sentiment, now saying that online dating is a good way to meet people. In addition, online dating has increased among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s. 

The most successful on-line dating services use detailed profiles, proprietary matching algorithms and a closely managed communications process to help the lovelorn find Mr. or Ms. Right. Under the hood, on-line dating sites are a combination of data mining, Big Data, and AI which brews up a mix of business intelligence, psychological profiling, matching algorithms and a variety of communications technologies.


As mentioned in past blogs, AI is not limited to traditional data on a spread sheet. It can interpret and aggregate demographic and geo-spatial data. AI is able cross reference data, find commonalities and draw insights that were previously impossible due to data silos or the sheer amount of time it would take for a human to crunch the numbers. It can also consider seemingly unrelated or outside factors that mate seekers may not immediately see as relevant. For example, on-line dating sites that plumb your social media would pick up on what you like and post about. Therefore, if you post vacations pics from only tropical islands and follow a variety of wine blogs, AI could deduce that your chances for compatibility probably don’t necessarily lie with potential mates who are ardent teetotalers and like to trek the Alps. This ability to rapidly analyze data, and potential correlations, creates a more comprehensive matching system, one with higher odds than perhaps your cousin who has been trying to set you up with her neighbor for months now.

AI is already going well beyond the average dating site:

  • Rumor has it that financial institutions may routinely use AI to predict the stability of relationships in couples applying for loans to reduce the risk of defaults with a 90 percent accuracy rate.
  • If you worry that your relationship might not be able to succeed, Artificial intelligence can now take a guess at whether you and your partner actually can go the distance. An AI firm called DataRobot has built a tool based on Stanford University data that asks you six questions about your relationship, and predicts your chances of staying together for the next couple of years.
  • Coca-Cola uses AI to track product mentions across social media (about 35 million Twitter followers as an example), so the soft drink giant can see where their buyers are, who they are, and what drives their positive or negative experiences. AI opinion mining can now collect data from multiple channels, analyze customer sentiments, and pick up patterns in those feelings to allow marketing and product to align with customer trends.
  • Recommendation engines like those used by Netflix streaming service built AI into its platform to learn about user preferences, curate viewing options based on those likings, and then measure how these selections affect things like bounce rate and free-trial conversion.

The Power of AI

The future of AI in dating holds the promise of becoming even more sophisticated and accurate. One of the biggest hurdles in improving compatibility matches for on-line dating sites is with client honesty.  Roughly 54 percent of online daters reported that a potential matches seriously misrepresented themselves on their profiles. The same predictive analysis that currently drives product recommendation engines could be applied to matchmaking, moving online dating beyond user-generated profiles to include data like streaming music playlists, shopping histories, and the sentiment of a person’s social shares. This way, if a 56-year-old male tries to list his age as ‘42’ and wants to claim that he likes long walks on the beach when he hasn’t been to the beach in decades, analysis of his social media posts, likes and history should be able to prompt him to alter his answers which would ultimately improve his chances of finding a compatible mate.

About Scot Schultz

Scot Schultz is a HPC technology specialist with broad knowledge in operating systems, high speed interconnects and processor technologies. Joining the Mellanox team in March 2013 as Director of HPC and Technical Computing, Schultz is a 25-year veteran of the computing industry. Prior to joining Mellanox, he spent the past 17 years at AMD in various engineering and leadership roles, most recently in strategic HPC technology ecosystem enablement. Scot was also instrumental with the growth and development of the Open Fabrics Alliance as co-chair of the board of directors. Scot currently maintains his role as Director of Educational Outreach, founding member of the HPC Advisory Council and of various other industry organizations. Follow him on Twitter: @ScotSchultz

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