How do we find love in the digital age? Over the centuries people have placed their hopes in the hands of the gods, matchmakers or chance. Now tech companies have made it their mission to pair people up. They claim that romance is a numbers game – the more we play, the better the odds. But is this really the case?
Dating-app enthusiasts argue that smartphones have allowed us to connect with people outside our social circles and geographical locations. Finding love IRL (In Real Life) is inefficient and overrated. Harry or Harriet can now swipe Sally from the convenience of his or her bedroom. Millions use dating apps every day to find a compatible partner, from scoring a date on Tinder and Bumble to finding the perfect match through eHarmony and OKCupid. Want to meet a farmer or a life-partner who lives gluten-free? Apps can find you a match within seconds. Try doing that in a dark crowded bar.
That’s a dangerous illusion, argue the dating-app sceptics. These apps are like junk-food – addictive and bad for your health. They lead to unfulfilled experiences and have turned being ghosted and feeling disposable into an everyday experience. Why settle on a match when someone better might be just a swipe away? We have fallen under the spell of tech companies that have their bottom lines, not our happiness, at heart. Worldwide spend on dating apps has skyrocketed from £234m in 2016 to £448m in 2017, allowing executives to profit from our swiping addiction. Instead of allowing romance to blossom organically we are entrusting our hearts to money-making algorithms.
Are dating apps killing romance or are they the matchmakers we’ve waited centuries for? Join us on June 11th, hear the arguments and decide for yourselves.
Speakers are subject to change.