How Tinder’s AI Micromanages Your Dating Life

Welcome to your personal ‘desirability’ score

Image: Wiktor Karkocha

Welcome to your personal ‘desirability’ score

Make no mistake: nothing about the Tinder algorithm is random. When you open the app to get swiping, you might think that the profiles you are seeing are just a random bunch of people that fit your age/gender preferences and live relatively close. Think again. Tinder wants to match as many couples as possible and designs its algorithm to put certain profiles in front of you. Of course, you’re free to swipe right to your heart’s delight and ignore the people Tinder recommends, but the algorithm penalises you for swiping left too much. So how does Tinder decide whose profiles to show you?

So an AI is deciding who I should go out with?

Yep. Sure, you get to swipe left or right, and decide what to message (please do better than these people), but Tinder’s algorithm decides which few of the thousands of nearby profiles to show you in the first place and which of those people are seeing your profile. This AI is like the world’s most controlling wingman, who doesn’t necessarily want you to shoot for your dream partner. Instead, they’ll actively push you towards people they think are more in your league.

Writing about the intersection of technology and society at https://technocracy.substack.com/.

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