The Rise and Rise of Algorithmic Love

As meeting people online has gradually lost its stigma, dating sites are turning to scientists to match people according to the new rules of mating, which are no longer dominated by necessity. 

What's the Latest Development?


Today, online dating takes all kinds, not just the desperate and creepy. And the algorithms that dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com use to pair candidates are getting more and more thoughtful. The latter site recently hired Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers, who takes a chemical approach to love. "Fisher’s observations and findings regarding the human personality, romantic or otherwise, are rooted in her study of the human species over the millennia and in the role that brain chemistry plays in temperament, especially with regard to love, attraction, choice, and compatibility."

What's the Big Idea?

What has love come to in the early twenty-first century? No longer based on the needs of tribal societies to widen their gene pools and survive oppressive elements, love today has its critics, but Fisher says it still carries essential characteristics. "Walking into a bar is totally artificial," Fisher said. "We've come to believe that this is the way to court. But that couldn’t be further from the truth." In her view, dating via the Internet enables, as she wrote, "the modern human brain to pursue more comfortably its ancestral mating dance."

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