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Alongside four other presenters from the aha festival in Lucerne, I wrote a short piece about my talk. See below for the English version.

Can an algorithm choose the right partner for me? (Maybe even better than I could myself?)

The short answer is – no, but the longer answer is much more complex.

Dating platforms use algorithms to choose the order in which we see profiles, and this order plays a part in how attractive we will find those profiles. For example, we find profiles more attractive if they appear to be responsive, that is caring, understanding and validating, particularly if they appear after an unresponsive profile. This is also true of physical attractiveness, a highly attractive profile has an effect on those viewed after it.

However, other aspects of online dating also change who we choose to date. The structure of online dating profiles means that we see a breadth of information about a person, their values, attitudes or interests, and people will often dismiss a potential date based on this information. When we meet people offline we tend to view people in a more holistic way. We consider their warmth, humour, and our connection with them, and if we like them on that level then hobbies or attitudes might not be as important in our decision to date them or not. 

In short, online dating changes how we choose partners, but it doesn’t choose that partner for us.