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How AI is changing the dating game

Andy Phillips   |   Fri, 23 Feb 2024

Let's be real: online dating is a mixed bag even in the best of times. We swipe, we match, we message ... with mixed results. Now toss in cutting-edge AI, and things get seriously complicated. Sure, there are AI-powered dating tools, coaches, and practice partners that aim to do good (shoutout!), but there’s also a dark side to the AI revolution, and chances are decent that you've had your heart toyed with by a flirty fake at least once.

So let's face this AI issue head-on, and arm ourselves with knowledge before that seemingly perfect date turns out to be, well, code.

Fake profiles and bots with bad intentions

We’ve all been there. You're scrolling through your dating app and BAM! Across the screen flashes the cutest guy/girl/non-binary hottie you've ever seen. Their bio reads like a Hallmark movie pitch, and they're into EVERYTHING you love. Like, literally everything.

Too good to be true? Probably, because this profile may not even rep a real person.

Generative AI makes it shockingly easy to create fake profiles. AI tools can create realistic headshots and churn out charming bios that fit your preferences to a T. And yes, those photos could even depict a real, unsuspecting person, making your match a human-bot catfish that’s just downright creepy.

Or maybe your match seems real enough at first, but eventually things begin to feel "off." Conversations feel stilted, you never meet in person, and there’s something missing you can’t quite identify. Could be you're chatting with an AI bot programmed to keep you hooked and emotionally invested.

But why on Earth would someone program a bot to do any of this? Well ...

Scams. Bots lure you in with the promise of romance, then comes the sob story: a sick relative, a sudden emergency, and the request to send them money. Ouch!

Data farming. Even seemingly innocent bots gather data about you, and that info can be used to target you with ads, or, worse, fuel identity theft.

Trolling. Some people get kicks out of wasting your time. Bots are great for this since they don't need sleep and they protect the human perpetrator from getting hurt themselves.

So, how can you spot an AI fake?

There’s no guaranteed way to ID an AI-powered bot, but trust your gut. If something feels off about a profile or conversation, it probably is. (Don't ignore your spidey-sense!) And remember that "too perfect” can be a red flag. Nobody's life is a rom-com. If the profile reads like a fantasy, it likely is.

Another option when you're starting to doubt whether your match is a human? Reverse-image-search their profile pics. Search engines won't always catch a completely AI-generated fake, but it's worth a shot. And if your search turns up nothing but your suspicions are still sky-high, suggest a video call. Most scammers will balk, as real-time faking is harder (though not impossible).

And finally, don't rush romance. Bots work by getting you emotionally hooked fast. Take your time and get to know someone gradually.

Bottom line: be AI-aware but don’t panic

AI catfishing sucks, plain and simple. And while getting played by a program hurts just as much as getting played by a person, don’t let the bots get you down! Not all AI is bad news for dating. Many sites use AI to fight back against scammers, and AI tools are getting better at detecting fake profiles, suspicious activity, and harmful content.

As long as you stay vigilant, trust your instincts, and do your best to seek out dating experiences like Couple that defend against deception and cultivate real connection, you’re going to be a-okay.

Until next time, Couplers ... keep dating smart, and most importantly, don't lose faith in finding love.


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