modern love, with robot yentas

so friends of mine keep hopping around from one dating site to the next.  a few years ago, a friend found her husband/father of her child on  we joked that she found the one guy worth dating on that site; and boy did she do a good job of closing the deal!  we were all so very impressed. was another hot site for awhile.  i used it for a little while, and it introduced me to a guy who worked in the same office.  that was amusing; we hung out a little, but now he lives in Australia, and we’re more interested in professional collaborations than other kinds of, ahem, collaborations.

and who doesn’t love to mock eHarmony?  a friend used that for awhile and consistently met software engineers, which were basically the same guys she met all day long in her job.  so yeah, that didn’t work out.  now she’s trying a more personalized service (theoretically, more personalized, though there is little data to support that so far), called “It’s Just Lunch“.  


a few years ago i was sitting having some delicious fast food at O’Hare when my colleague told me that she’d purchased the genetic material for the child she was carrying online.  he was going to be an excellent christmas gift for herself and her partner.  he’s actually really fabulous – very smart, very sweet, really good kid.  she was able to select material online, culling through data points like health, education, physical traits, and as they got closer and closer to a decision, they could even hear his voice.  the guardian called it ‘sperm sorting‘.

so now you can meet someone who might one day ‘donate’ some sperm, or you can just get the sperm itself, all online, using automated, algorithmic services. bots will connect you to anyone or any future someone that you like.  all of life’s greatest pleasures – falling in love, making a life together, having children – can be fed through a bot, sorted, and matched to you.

ordinarily i like the robotic.  you know this.  but i’ll admit this makes me a little sad.  not for my friend who had a baby – because i’m afraid her girlfriend was not in a position to do this for her, and they have an adorable little one and a lovely family – but because it feels more and more like this is the only way it works.

maybe it’s new york.  i’m a horrible commitment-phobe who is entirely obsessed with having a career i like and autonomy i need and a dream of a bi-coastal lifestyle and steady income at a certain level.  these dreams are well within my reach and i spend most of my time working on them.  when a man does come around, with vanishingly low frequency, he tends to be way too much like me in this respect and then it’s a constant cycle of talking myself into and out of liking him too much.  plus in new york we’re all really shit at meeting people.  the professional meet and greet is one thing, the industry meet-ups are fine.  but making an actual connection in this town is tough when we’re all worried what this person WANTS from us.

i’ve been thinking for awhile about a game that would help new yorkers (or anyone really) get better at the micro-behaviors that actually lead to dating.  if it were fun, and kind of whimsical, maybe we’d do it more or worry about it less.

so i set up a profile today on okcupid to see what’s what. and how i might design such a game. i like the looks of their iphone app, and i like this… 

so friendly, this little robot.  i wonder if he’s single.

Posted via email from reminds me of robots

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