Romance And Technology
Do you believe in Love? We make fun of love, we cherish love, and we are entertained by it on shows like The Bachelor. According to The Beatles, it’s all we need. Yet in 2018, love seems so hard to find. Technology in the modern age has promised to help us live wholly and find those who we really connect with, possibly even “the one”. Love is one of the things that makes us human, but in today’s age, we’re in an existential dilemma where romance and technology are actually in conflict.
One of the first times modern technology and relationships intertwined was at Harvard in the 1960s with questionnaires compared by IBM computers that helped users find dates for a $3 fee. There really wasn’t a whole lot of change to this format until the internet and Match.com came along. However, the internet wasn’t widely accessible in the mid 1990s when Match first came to be, so it took a few years for the the love algorithm to overcome it’s negative stigma and for the tech to catch on. By the early 2000s the perception had shifted and it was becoming socially acceptable to search for love online.
Yet, an online rendezvous being socially acceptable is not indicative of romance or courtship being preserved. In fact, since the early 2000s when social norms began to adapt to technology, the rates for marriage in the US have declined. Maybe having the entire world at your fingertips isn’t exactly optimal for romance. The overwhelming choice, has brought down our willingness to compromise in relationships. Now this is exaggerated tenfold by apps like Tinder and Bumble, which have created the swipe culture. We are growing accustomed to seeing people on such a surface level, but humans are more than a set of pictures and a left or right swipe.
The objectification of people on varying degrees is proliferated by many progressive technologies. We’re all reduced to a set of split second impulse decisions and a never ending spectrum of options. We’ve all become disposable. In fact, since 2000 the marriage rate has declined almost 20%. One could argue that technology intertwining with romance has, in fact, been counterproductive. Not that marriage is the definitive metric of romance, but it’s certainly an indicator.
Maybe in the future, technology will enhance romance…anyone seen the Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ.”? In the future, VR tech could run countless simulations of human interactions to determine a degree of compatibility. Tech like this could move us towards a relationship and remove some of the guesswork. Hell, even Tinder and Bumble have their upsides. Future Party Co-founder Francis Pollara met his now wife, Chloe, on Tinder, and yes there have been many other wins in this new technology:romance matrix.
You can look all over the world and love is the thing that everyone desires. As technologies innovate, you better believe we’re in for a storm affecting how we approach love and relationships. There will be a never ending source of solutions that hope to connect us, improve our communication and bring us closer to that serendipity and ecstasy of being with another person. It’s important though to always think of the balance we must maintain as technology advances. We don’t want to lose out on what we’re seeking in the first place.