Would you date a virtual companion? Report sheds light on "love in an algorithmic age"

The findings reveal sentiments about algorithms used in dating apps and more. Turns out, lots of people have dated a virtual AI companion and would do so again.

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Image: GettyImages/d3sign

Earlier this month, Kaspersky published a report entitled "Love in an algorithmic age" referring to the use of computer algorithms in popular dating apps. The findings highlight sentiments about the role algorithms play in suggesting potential matches with other users, whether people would consider dating virtual assistants and more. Turns out, lots of people have dated a virtual AI assistant and would do so again.

AI and dating apps

Overall, the report is based on Kaspersky-commissioned surveys that were conducted in June involving more than 18,600 adults in countries around the globe. Just under half of the respondents (44%) said they feel as though they "have to use dating apps in order to date" and 54% agreed that apps make "dating easier and that they enjoyed using them."

But how do people feel about algorithmic matchmakers? The short answer: It's a mixed bag.

In general, the majority of respondents (64%) said the dating app's "suggested matches were good" and the same percentage felt as though "the algorithm understands their preferences" although this total jumps to 69% for people between the ages of 18 and 24, according to Kaspersky.

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About half of respondents (44%) "would trust AI or an algorithm to find them a compatible match" and 43% prefer "to only see people who have been determined to be a good match by an algorithm," per Kaspersky.

On the flip side, 39% of respondents "find it dehumanizing to be sorted by an algorithm," 56% do not believe algorithms "can truly capture the complexity needed to understand attraction" and 58% would prefer to "have equal access to everyone on an app" rather than having an "algorithm sort people for them," per Kaspersky.

Dating virtual assistants

Over the last decade, virtual assistants a la Siri and Alexa have become commonplace in the digital day-to-day, helping people set reminders, text friends, and even set the ambiance in the age of the interconnected smart home. As people increasingly interact with virtual assistants, could people warm to the idea of dating their digital companions?

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According to Kaspersky, more than half of respondents (55%) wouldn't "consider being in a relationship with a virtual AI companion," 14% "would consider it" and 23% wouldn't rule out the possibility by selecting "maybe." Interestingly, a number of respondents (8%) said they have previously "been in a relationship with one and would consider it again."

Feel free to peruse the full three-part Kaspersky report here.

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