If the history of online dating proves anything, it’s that our online persona and who we are IRL can at times be different. Using a much younger photo or exaggerating a job title is such a problem for 21st-century singletons that Nev Shulman has made an entire career out of it with Catfish - the documentary TV series that follows people meeting their online partners for the first time. Of course there’s an odd occasion where the series’ couples live happily ever after, but almost always they end in disappointment - like the time when a guy thought he’d been in a six year relationship with Katy Perry to find it was, in fact, just a crazed fan in the UK. And please let’s not forget the episode where Antwane was Catfished by her cousin Carmen for three years for calling her “a fat-ass Kelly Price.” An iconic moment in MTV history.
As Nev unfortunately can’t be with us all when we go on these first-time encounters, Tinder has installed new human-assisted AI technology that enables users to self-authenticate their identity. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new system asks users to take pictures in specific poses, like holding a thumbs up, which gives them a blue verification tick. Not only this, the app has also partnered up with Noonlight - a safety platform that connects a user with the emergency services via an app - to offer a ‘panic button’ for those that feel unsafe whilst on their date. This new function gives the user the opportunity to enter details regarding who the date is with, where the meeting is and to "easily and discreetly" trigger an emergency services call if necessary. Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of the Match group, has said she hopes this means Tinder can act as a "silent bodyguard" as well as cupid.
In a further attempt to tackle offensive language, Tinder is also working on Does This Bother You? a machine-learnt AI that detects potentially offensive language, and will ask the receiver if they are offended by the message. This is in the same vein as the anti-bullying function Instagram installed late last year. As Pat Benatar said, "love is a battlefield," but don't let this sway you - although you may occasionally lose the battle there's hopes you'll win the war on love. Happy swiping!
Artwork | Meriç Canatan