As mothers have been saying for millennia, choosing the right person is entirely too important a decision to make for yourself, so stop trusting your eyes and your heart to make the right swipes on Tinder, and let this beautiful computer do it for you.
It’s called the True Love Tinder Robot, and it was made by Brooklyn’s Nicole He, a graduate student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
“In a time when it’s very normal for couples to meet online, we trust that algorithms on dating sites can find us suitable partners,” He explained on her site. “Simultaneously, we use consumer biometric devices to tell us what’s going on with our bodies and what we should do to be healthy and happy. Maybe it’s not a stretch to consider what happens when we combine these things.”
To use the bot, the love-seeker puts their phone down in front of the robot hand with Tinder open and puts their hands in the sensors, He explained on her blog. As you look at each profile, the robot talks talks to you, judging the prospects each potential life-mate has for you.
“Hello human, I am the True Love Tinder Robot. I’m going to help you find love. You can trust me because I’m robot,” the bot says in a video He posted.
“I can read your feelings. No match here,” the bot continues. “Determine if this person has any value. Nope. Can you see yourself spending your life with this person? You’re not very picky are you?”
I made a robot that reads your body's response as you look at Tinder profiles, and then swipes based on science. pic.twitter.com/xExatPyFX3
— Nicole He (@nicolehe) December 13, 2015
He made the bot using Arduino, a text-to-speech module, a galvanic skin-response sensor and some nifty engineering work. The idea came to her in a dream, she said. She woke up and wrote the idea down on her phone before she forgot it. The robot will be her final project in two of her ITP classes.
The project is completely open-source, and you can check out the code for it on her GitHub.
Arduino and galvanic sensors aside, the piece resonates as art, as well. More than 1,400 people retweeted He’s tweet showing the robot at work in under a day. One thing many people are facing, as we continue to progress into the future, is how much emotion and decision making can be replaced by artificial intelligence. Can and should computers make decisions for us? And to what extent? Is there an underlying intuition that remains uniquely human, and is that superior to anything technology can replicate, and anything technology will ever be able to replicate? And (I’ll stop now, but) has our use of technology to tell us how much to sleep, what to eat, when to exercise, how to spend money, what music we’ll like, where to go to dinner and who to love, sapped us of some of the small joys of being alive humans with agency? Is it the case not just that computers are becoming more like us, but also that we may be becoming more like computers?
In a Q & A on her site, He answers whether this project is actually scientific.
“Definitely, absolutely, 100% no doubt.”
You can try out the True Love Tinder Bot for yourself at the ITP Winter Show Dec. 20-21.
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