Can AI Be Trusted With Our Hearts? The Rise of AI Dating Apps

Artificial intelligence has been the hot topic of the past several months, with generative AI programs and large language models upending creative industries and leading to a rise in artificially generated content (and an increasing number of lawsuits).  Companies are adding AI left and right in the name of making life easier, and dating apps are no exception.  In fact, dating apps have embraced AI, even to the point of making it a major feature that controls how people meet on these platforms.

While the companies apparently mean well, the reality isn’t as rosy.  There are fears that AI features may end up decreasing human connection and increase the risk of running into a scam.  Many companies are now taking more steps to reduce exposure to scams, but users need to know how AI can change their dating life before signing up for one of these services.

What Do AI Dating Apps Promise to Do?

On the positive side, AI dating apps aim to help you find better matches through extensive questioning.  Previous online dating platforms still questioned you and gave you matches based on an algorithm, but with AI, the process is more intense.  The matches are supposed to be more specific and more compatible, hopefully reducing the risk of ghosting.  One platform, Teaser AI, lets users create AI bots that the system then matches, and the bots handle the initial getting-to-know-you conversation, after which the humans take over.  A couple of platforms even offer AI chatbots for practicing conversations and trying out virtual dates.

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Companies using AI claim it streamlines the process of setting up a profile and getting through those initial awkward chats.  They want to reduce how tiring and pointless the matching process can be, letting you get a list of people who are more likely to interest you instead of making you swipe on hundreds of pointless profiles.  A number of companies use AI to find a user’s preferred physical type and send matches based heavily on that.  And according to the founder of one platform, the percentage of profiles that women like goes from 3% without AI matching to 55% with AI matching based on the person’s physical type; in an interview with HubSpot, Dr. Igor Khalatian of iris Dating (yes, “iris” is lowercase) noted how couples tend to pair up because of physical attraction and said, “Connections based on mutual interests can work, but we don’t lose sleep over someone because they share our hobbies, musical taste, or political affiliation.”  But physical attraction doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship will succeed.

Lack of Flexibility and Lack of Humans

As with anything that has pros, there are cons.  For AI dating apps, those cons include the fact that users could use AI to generate responses in conversations with another human user.  CNN says a study by Kaspersky found 75% of users were open to generating their responses in conversations with ChatGPT instead of coming up with something on their own.  One platform, Rizz, suggests responses when users need to come up with a reply.  These may seem helpful to those who don’t know what to say, but they both increase the amount of ghosting as users decide they don’t want to chat with bots.  In fact, the Guardian found that responses to a Washington Post story on these features were shocked and appalled, with commenters writing that they’d end interactions if they thought the responses were coming from a bot.

Another concern is that leaving matches to an AI program could exclude potentially good profiles just because they weren’t perfect algorithm fits.  In the aforementioned HubSpot article, the author’s colleague wondered if she and her boyfriend would ever have found each other on these apps because of how different they seemed to be.

Do AI Apps Increase the Risk of Catfishing and Romance Scams?

Possibly most alarming is the fact that there’s really no guarantee the person you’re matching with is an actual person.  Bad actors could still create fake personas to lure unsuspecting people into scams involving sending money or depositing funds for a questionable “investment.”  Even worse, with AI able to create realistic facial photos and charming conversation, scammers could create personalities that are even more magnetic and that seem so good that people fall for them more easily – and create a lot of them, flooding the platform.  The “person” could also be a chatbot set up for catfishing and manipulation because someone wants to cause emotional damage rather than financial damage.  And even if the person was real and was looking for someone to date, that person could still simply lie when answering questions.  Companies are trying to add more safeguards, such as picture verification, but right now, AI can’t really stop those scammers, catfishers, and liars.

People trying to use these AI dating apps in earnest need to be vigilant, and there are clues you can look for, such as pictures that seem too smooth and undetailed.  But Henry Ajder, a deepfake expert, told the BBC that it’s not realistic to ask users to always look for signs of AI-generated photos, for example, and apps need to take responsibility for weeding out these fake accounts.  Yet even that only targets AI-generated accounts and not real people who have bad intentions.

One More Risk: AI’s Potential for Discrimination

Several years ago, OK Cupid released statistics that showed Black women and Asian men were the least likely to get matches and be chosen by others for dates.  Given that so many AI apps now look at physical characteristics to create matches, could that make discrimination against Black women and Asian men even worse?  There’s nothing wrong with having a type; you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to.  But having more select matches rely heavily on physical characteristics could at least decrease the visibility of these profiles even more because the AI programs might not show the profiles at all.  To be clear, discrimination in dating apps is already present simply because there are users who discriminate.  But the addition of AI and the emphasis on looks in creating “the perfect match” could make it so much worse as any profile that didn’t meet a user’s physical criteria might be hidden.

Artificial intelligence could very well help some people connect, but it may also increase the potential for scams and decrease your ability to see profiles that don’t quite match yours.  If you want to try these apps, be aware of the risks and do a little investigation into anyone who seems like a good match.  Use Spokeo’s People Search, Reverse Address Lookup, and Reverse Phone Lookup to verify the identities of anyone who contacts you, and be cautious when you meet someone who seems too good to be true.  Try to move your conversations from chats to video calls (when you feel comfortable doing so, of course) to ensure that the person is at least human and not a chatbot.  The dating app scene can be a bit rough, and you’re right to want to look out for yourself.

Suzanne S. Wiley is an editor and web content writer. She has been editing since 1989 and began writing in 2009, covering topics such as environmental issues and health. Wiley has also written about gardening, food, and history.


BBC – Are you being catfished by AI on dating apps?

CNN – Modern romance: falling in love with AI

Financial Review – Why dating apps embracing AI is a bleak prospect

The Guardian – Why dating apps embracing AI is a bleak prospect

Hollywood Reporter – George Carlin Estate Sues Creators of AI-Generated Comedy Special in Key Lawsuit Over Stars’ Likenesses

HubSpot – Swipe Right for the Future: Exploring the Impact of AI on Dating Apps

Medium – Beauty in the AI of the Beholder: The Shocking Problems with Dating Apps

New York Times – The Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over A.I. Use of Copyrighted Work

NPR – ‘Least Desirable’? How Racial Discrimination Plays Out In Online Dating

Personal Relationships – Attractiveness and relationship longevity: Beauty is not what it is cracked up to be

Time – How Rizz Assistants and AI Matchmakers Are Transforming Dating

TechTarget – AI lawsuits explained: Who’s getting sued?

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