Our busy modern lives make it hard to meet new people, so more and more of us are turning to technology to find that special someone.Once the last resort for lonely hearts, online dating has become socially acceptable, even widespread – 4.7 million British people visited a dating site during 2008.“We see which parts of the compatibility model are the strongest, and how we can revise the model to make better matches,” says Dr Gian Gonzaga, director of research and development at e Harmony Labs in Santa Monica, California.
These algorithms take personal information, such as your interests, and push the data through a computer to calculate a couple’s degree of compatibility (or lack of).
Services like Gene Partner offer DNA tests to check for genetic compatibility, while Ok Cupid’s matching algorithm is powered by a user-generated personality test.
His researchers came to the conclusion that a person’s key character traits and values are the factors that best predict future relationship success.
Using this information, they created a personality test that was taken by thousands of married couples, who also completed a test to measure their relationship satisfaction.
Data Science has been fuelling the advancement of these recommendation engines, increasing conversions to order.
But while matching people to products is one thing, matching people to people is a different kind of endeavour – how successfully is data science informing online dating?
Enter online dating: The rise of online dating platforms has not only significantly increased the accessible pool of “potential partners”, but also promises to limit the necessary upfront investment (primarily time) by increasing the quality of partner recommendation through smart matching algorithms.
The specifics of the matching algorithms are highly proprietary (with the notable exception of OKcupid), but essentially they always work along the following lines: Online dating platform are operating within an interesting dilemma: while every user should be engaged (through high quality and frequency of matches), the companies also have the incentive to maintain the user on the platform as long a possible (more months of active payment).
e Harmony, the second-biggest dating site, carries out scientific studies to improve its algorithms.