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Thursday, November 30, 2023

ChatGPT and Tinder: do intelligent chatbots improve or degrade online dating?


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Tinder and other dating apps are infamous for helping to define modern dating. After downloading the Tinder app to their phones or other devices, users can look at the profiles of possible dates in their area. They swipe to the right on their touchscreens to indicate interest when they think they might be a match. A chat may start if the other person swipes right as well, and this chat may result in a face-to-face meeting.

A picture and some basic information about yourself make up this initial introduction. As a result, people occasionally assume that romance and trust are absent from the dating process. Worries about scams, harassment, and uninspiring (and frequently sexually offensive) Tinder opening lines like “Wow, your clothes would look great bundled on my bedroom floor” are added to this. However, Tinder is still a very viable option when looking for intimacy, casual relationships, or love.

With the widely talked-about “smart” chatbot, ChatGPT, Tinder’s chat game has now reached new heights. ChatGPT responds to a typed question or directive by offering suggestions and answers that have surprised many with their plausibility. Even though it is an artificial intelligence tool that bases its conclusions on a vast amount of internet data, it seems to have human qualities. Some Tinder users have started turning to ChatGPT for clever chat line suggestions that are based on the profile details that are available. Even more intriguing profile biographies can be created using it.

What does this mean for dating apps, though? Does it make it more challenging to build trust through technology? In my opinion, no.

I use the dating journeys of 25 Tinder users in Cape Town, South Africa, who I followed for two years to answer the question. According to my research, the initial stages of app dating are viewed with some skepticism and caution. But it also showed that users frequently figure out how to use the app’s technology to foster romance and trust. Depending on how it is employed.

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ChatGPT: What is it?

In November 2022, OpenAI, a US research facility, released ChatGPT, which spurred a race among major international tech companies to develop chatbots. Within just two months of being free, ChatGPT attracted 100 million users, who quickly used it in inventive ways.

It builds sentences by selecting words from a large database of information that are likely to follow one another, making it noticeably more sophisticated than earlier chatbots. Although it occasionally struggles with very straightforward inquiries, it excels when given additional information, such as the mood, tone, or intellectual level required of its response, in addition to the topic.

You can use ChatGPT as a search engine to get recommendations for books on, say, feminist theory. But it can also be told to write a poem or an essay on what it’s like to be a woman. Or, for that matter, a podcast introduction on the subject.

Like a human, the bot doesn’t always get the facts right, but it still manages to have conversations that come off as confident, knowledgeable, even funny and witty. It’s becoming more adept at it.

Users who have tried ChatGPT have discovered that it can shorten the tedious first stage of Tinder dating and substitute interesting and personalized pick-up lines, even whole poems, for awkward or boring human ones.

On Tinder, everyone agrees that certain behavior, like catfishing, is wrong (pretending to be an entirely different person). But when Tinder already has chatbot technology built in to suggest opening lines, like “What are your favorite song lyrics?”, things become murkier. Users of Tinder can use filters to enhance their photos or exaggerate their best features to draw in more attention.

One of the reasons my research participants felt that Tinder introductions lack authenticity is because of these subtle manipulations. I was reminded of their difficulties connecting authentically online by the discussions surrounding ChatGPT and its potential to shorten the time required to build relationships. A compelling profile is important, but proving oneself through witty banter and bold statements can also make or break a match. When pressed for time and communicating via text, emojis, and GIFs, things can easily go wrong. Come on, ChatGPT.

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Will faith be damaged?

The process of developing trust and romance could be complicated by confident chatbots. But are they tainting Tinder’s reputation for romance and trust? No, is how I would respond. ChatGPT will probably encourage users to write more daring, bold lines.

Even though there are times when it’s difficult to tell the difference between inspiration and deception, this doesn’t always mean that traits like confidence or creativity are lost. Additionally, trust need not be lost as a result.

Running a test on ChatGPT

When using ChatGPT, it seems possible to learn some surprisingly helpful dating advice. The chatbot responded to my awkward request for a Tinder opener by giving me some general pointers and saying, “The opening line is just the beginning of the conversation. Being sincere, demonstrating interest in the other person, and acting respectfully are paramount.

ChatGPT has the potential to be used to spread false information or cheat on online tests, but it can also contribute to positive growth. It might make people reevaluate what education ought to look like, for example. Similar conversations about dating ought to be encouraged. What do we currently want intimacy to be?

Technologies by themselves don’t cause disruption. The social processes of dating and sexuality involve regulation and coding. These rules can be bent, broken, or played with; this is nothing new. This happens in a variety of ways. When they do, we should concentrate less on the technology itself and more on how it is applied. It’s important to keep in mind that people can be dishonest and opaque offline as well. In its worst uses, technology only serves to emphasize this.

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People are technology

The fact that the Tinder users I spoke with kept uninstalling and reinstalling the app demonstrated to me that there is a persistence to get past the cliched introductions and staged photos to more meaningful encounters. This included encounters that felt unauthentic.

Given that the standard on Tinder is fairly low and that most users play it safe by not disclosing too much about themselves, ChatGPT’s bold and individualized approach may at first seem like a breath of fresh air.

On a deeper level, however, there is no reason to think that intimacy can be easily manipulated through the bot. According to my research, the online portion of Tinder dating was acknowledged and mocked as a necessary intermediary step before getting to the “real stuff.”

The good news is that Tinder users are getting better at separating the wheat from the chaff. Although this process is tedious, it is a life skill that is becoming more and more important.

It is impossible to maintain a confident performance through ChatGPT for very long. When it gets old and questions get more personal, people have to rely on their ability to communicate with care, take calculated risks, and slowly build trust.

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