The Weekly Stripe – 18.12.20
The constraints of Covid have not just impacted on our physical health and wellbeing: the need for friendship and romance has generated a new focus on technology and platforms which offset the lack of immediate contact. This week we look at the world of dating and companionship and how the digital age has impacted on our relationships.
In times of isolation, people have been finding solace in the world of dating apps. The use of these platforms has been accompanied by a new intensity of matching us with friends and potential spouses. Sharmistha Dubey, the new chief executive of Match group and the owner of groups such as Tinder, OKCupid and Match.com, has described in an interview with The Financial Times how dating apps have since exploded in popularity.
However, the issue with relying on algorithms for something as complex as romance is that it can leave us feeling disappointed. As this article discusses, using dating apps and primarily interacting with love interests online can threaten the development of our emotional intelligence.
In some societies, such as Japan, there is a definite social necessity for contact and connection. The government is on a mission to reduce its declining birth rate and has recently announced $19million of funding for 2021. This will go towards subsidising local government programmes currently running or starting projects, which are AI driven matchmaking schemes to help people find love.
There have been remarkable technological solutions for those suffering from a lack of companionship during the pandemic. A pet robot which was invented in Japan, named ‘Paro’ has been helping nursing residents in Texas. The robot’s effects on people have been found to reduce reliance on pharmaceutical drugs, to improve blood pressure and more.
Finally, to return to AI facilitating person to person contact, Twitter has announced they are testing a new product called Spaces, which will allow users to gather in spaces for live chats with one person or small groups of people. The first users to be given access will be women and people from minority communities, such as those who are more likely than others to be subjected to abuse and harassment online.