The High-Tech Mating Game

Paula LaBrot

What could be more “connected” than a relationship, especially an intimate relationship? So, what does the future hold for that special connection? Hold onto your hearts, my Valentines. The future of love is a cyber sensation. recently reported “a joint report between eHarmony and the Imperial College Business School (in Dublin) that suggests that VR (Virtual Reality) dates will be the norm by 2040.” With VR you put on a headset and immerse yourself in a 360-degree audio-visual world that is already created or that you may create yourself. With new technologies like vTime, you and another person (or persons) can jump into the same app and share the environment. You can meet, talk, look, and move around together. It’s a total immersion, 3D, holographic video chat experience.

I think it’s kind of neat. eHarmony, an established online dating service, reports 40 percent of Americans use online dating. Given the understanding that people lie a lot on dating sites (mostly about height/weight, age, and job/income), the idea of physically meeting someone after an internet introduction always seemed a bit scary to me; psychopaths and sociopaths can have such charming veneers. I would tell my friends, park your car far away so your date can’t get your license plate and trace you. In Virtual Reality though, you need not be in the same location. One of you could be in Topanga and the other one on the moon during your initial meetups.

So, imagine this. You go to a dating site and find someone you would like to meet. You check out their profile. Profiles, with pictures, include information about a person’s physical makeup, their socio-economic status, and their interests, but who knows who is telling the truth?

In the future, there will be no need for a long form, self-generated, possibly false profile. There is a new technology called True Behavior Matchmaking. There are vast amounts of data collected about you—what you order on Netflix, what your Fitbit records about you, your phone GPS records, your grocery member card recording what foods you like to buy, your CVS card showing what medicines you use…on and on.

True Behavior Matchmaking can buy all kinds of data about you and create a pretty accurate profile of you from that information. What the Opinionator calls “unbiased data on your true behaviors,” is becoming more and more voluminous and a very realistic picture of an individual can be formed.

Say you have found someone you are interested in. In the future, after checking with your dating site’s digital verification program to make sure your date is who they say they are, what the heck? Arrange a VR date! Why not meet at the beach? Or go skiing together? How about a moonlight ride with the top down and John Denver singing a private concert for you in the back seat? Take a picture of your bedroom and go there together. It won’t cost you a cent.

Think of how valuable VR encounters could be. How about for long distance relationships? Meet up in the fantasy location of your choice and have a grand time! Deployed overseas?  Meet your love at the swankiest resort in Hawaii. Go to Disneyland with your family. See the Taj Mahal under a full moon together. Watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. Dive the Great Barrier Reef. Gee! The possibilities keep popping up in my mind.

Immobilized people could go backpacking with a loved one. And when VR gets really sophisticated, a sensuous, scrumptious Valentine’s Day dinner together with no reservation needed. No bill, either.

According to the Opinionator, “research looked at the progress being made by VR companies and predicted it will be possible for all five human senses to be digitally simulated within 25 years.” eHarmony predicts a future when VR will not need a headset, because it will be directly interfaced with our brains, and users will be able to experience sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Holy Valentines!

One other little future goodie: once you meet someone face to face (finally!), you may have a little badge that records your pheromone levels. That allows your date to know when you are turned on. A badge measuring your cortisol levels will let your date have instant feedback that they are having a negative impact. No need to rely on instincts at all. Let the modern matchmaker wizards do the work.

With all this technology, however, Dr. Marty Remko writes in Psychology Today, “High tech will not eliminate the need for high touch. Technology is replacing much of our face-to-face interaction, but we’ll crave a measure of flesh-and-blood contact with friends, family, romantic partner, and yes, our doggies.

Jeez, after researching this article, I need to go get a real-time Valentine’s hug from G.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Beloveds!

Vamos a ver!


Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.