The Future Of (2022) s01e02 Episode Script

Dating

1
It's Saturday night.

You're about to go see a movie,
but you want to meet someone new.

So instead of swiping,
you opt in to meet-cute mode on your app.

It's already got a match for you.

Your app knows your schedge,
checks your energy levels,
and figures out a way
to get the two of you together,
changing your plans
and guiding you to a new location.

Next thing you know,
you're sitting on a park bench
with your dream date.

I would freak the fuck out.

We've all used dating apps.

See what the Lord offers today.

Nobody wants to talk about weather.

This guy doesn't seem to have a basic
understanding of, like, photography?
Dating is an intentional,
intimate connection between individuals
who hopefully have the same goals in mind.

People hate on the dating apps.

One reason is there's this loss of
that magical moment where you're like,
"We locked eyes, fell in love.
"
But in the future,
we're going to go
way beyond swiping left and right.

With smarter data
and artificial intelligence,
your dating app will set you up on the fly
with the partner of your dreams.

You're being told go to this bar,
sit at the end of this bar,
and you're wondering,
why am I sitting at the end?
Who else is being steered
and guided around?
Who knows?
Maybe these apps will help you do more
than just meet people.

If we had an AI dating coach,
I definitely think planning
would have been a lot easier.

Is it scary as hell? Absolutely.

But can I get laid from it? I'm in.

If we can unlock the way
we truly feel about one another,
what else does the future hold?
So let's say I'm still single.

And dating in the future.

I hope that doesn't happen.

Dating.

It used to be like this.

The year we met was about 1946.

Evy moved on to my street.

And I thought he was
so kind and so patient.

That would be nice to marry him.

And she did.

Evy and Alvin's story
is adorable,
but they met over 70 years ago.

These days,
how-we-met stories go more like this.

I loved this picture.

We met on Bumble.

Shout out to Bumble.

Today,
it's all about dating apps.

In 2020, 270 million people
around the world used them
to look for love,
casual hookups, and everything in between.

And every app offers a different twist
on an age-old problem.

Hinge, you could get to know
somebody's personality better.

Tinder was my least favorite
'cause it was truly
seeing a face and swiping.

It was all older people on OkCupid.

- Yeah, it was for people your age.

- Was a good place to meet a grandma.
Yeah.

Wait, my age?!
People all over TikTok
are sharing
their dating-app success stories.

But apps aren't cutting it
for a lot of us.

Only 12% of users in the US
have found committed partners.

And about half of all users
report feeling frustrated by them.

There's not been one person
that I still talk to.

That I've met on one of those apps at all.

Dating apps suck.

Giannina Gibelli knows
a lot about dating.

She found and lost her soul mate
on the show Love Is Blind,
where contestants go on blind dates
inside pods that conceal their looks.

If I could only do one for the rest
of my life, pods or dating apps?
I can't believe I'm gonna say,
I'm gonna say the pods.

It's pretty tough out there for a pimp.

So why is it so hard
for most of us to meet someone?
It doesn't help that we've been sold
a certain image
of romance our entire lives.

The love we see
in movies is serendipitous,
unexpected, problematic,
melodic, dramatic,
and it's even got a name
And that is what they call a meet-cute.

While the meet-cute
is the magical moment
when Hollywood relationships begin,
our relationships start
by sifting through millions of profiles
on dating apps that may or may not
be the best match for us.

After all that swiping
and all those aimless DMs,
when you finally
get to meet someone in real life,
it's going to feel
like you've got a lot riding on this.

I get coffee and the barista's nice
to me and I'm like,
"I think I could marry this girl,"
you know?
So imagine what it's like dating
or on a date, you know?
We know that talking to strangers
is just It's not natural, right?
It's It's nerve-racking.

You weren't really yourself
and that's why the date went really badly.

For better or worse,
everyone presents a different version
of themselves on the Internet.

On top of that, it's a lot of work
just to get through these profiles.

They're never-ending.

Did we mention
that 270 million people use dating apps?
It's very shallow.
It's just, like, fast.

You look at a face,
you throw it in the garbage,
and you move on.

It's like you have endless choices so
you never have to actually make a choice.

You can say, "There's someone else
who probably fits my needs more.
"
But not everyone hates on them.

How good are the apps
at delivering matches that I like?
I mean, pretty successful.

I don't know if we're gonna
go on a date or even communicate,
you know they're attractive,
they know you are.

It might seem like
you're getting an accurate picture
of your perfect match.

But are you really?
Based on what criteria?
While some companies
like Hinge are upfront
with the type of algorithm they use,
many apps are tight-lipped
about what goes into their matches.

Dating apps collect
a ton of data that you're,
one, aware of,
and other data that you're not.

So the data you're aware of are kind
of the obvious things like your location,
your age, your gender, how you identify,
who you're interested in.

But then there's part of the data
that you might not be thinking about.

Dating apps can read your conversations.

Dating apps can see who you're swiping on
and beyond who you're swiping on,
who you're lingering on.

It can monitor when you exchange
a phone number and how long that took.

No matter
which one you're using,
apps are reacting
to the information we give them.

Whether we realize it or not.

And that means
they can amplify our own biases,
including subconscious biases,
a problem that many hope
the apps will address.

Dating apps have
really gotten a reputation,
at least in the past few years,
for racial bias, specifically.

I think the apps make it so easy
for people to not even consider
what their tastes are.

So they don't have to think,
"Oh shit, I am swiping left
on every person of color," or,
"Oh crap, I've never engaged
with someone who doesn't look like me.
"
Racial bias is a real issue.

And the reality is that dating apps
make biased choices because people do.

Consciously or not.

Our swipes train the algorithms
to feed us certain results
at the expense of other potential matches.

So how do we solve this problem?
To address bias and become more inclusive,
these apps, one,
need to be aware of the problem,
which hopefully by now they are.

And address
their algorithms appropriately.

Figure where they're getting their data,
make sure it's
as unbiased as physically possible.

Continue to work on that
in the software coding side.

AI ethics researchers
like Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell
are looking to make
our algorithms work for everyone.

For dating apps, one way to do that is
to stop relying so much on our swipes.

I hope that we can get to a point
where everyone feels seen.

Feel like they're getting the same
opportunities of visibility
on the dating apps
and we all feel confident
in what we're receiving from the product.

In a few years,
it's possible our apps
will be way smarter and less biased.

And they may help us find better matches
than we could ever find ourselves.

Moran Cerf is a neuroscientist
who studies our emotions.

In the future, the more data we have,
the better we're able
to give options that are better.

Not just ask you what you want,
and give you that.

And asking people for what they are,
and align them.

But actually learning about you.

What kind of data
would improve these apps?
Well, ideally it would be information
that can clearly show when
we are either liking someone or not.

In the future,
we might be able to quantify love.

It sounds impossible,
but some of us have already tried.

The idea of being able to figure out
and try to model neuro-anatomically,
my feelings for this dude,
that felt exciting to me.

Performer Dessa Darling
participated in a study
to try and pinpoint her feelings
inside her brain.

I will hasten to say that I am not,
like, a definitive scientific experiment.

I'm a case study of one.

Also this is really weird.

In the study, Dessa was
hooked up to a functional MRI machine
and shown different photos of men.

Judging by a spike in the part
of the brain that produces dopamine,
a researcher could easily tell
which guy Dessa had feelings for.

Trippy, right?
Sure enough, it matched up
to the person she was in love with.

It felt like now I had proof of love!
Which is silly, you don't need proof
of love, it's a subjective experience.

But like, I could see something
in my body.

I think that's cool.

So even though an MRI machine
may help us figure out
who we're really into,
it'd be pretty tough to bring on a date.

Fortunately, there are
other ways our dating apps
will be able to measure
attraction that are far less clunky.

There are numerous things
that change in our body
that are measurable from the outside.

Your heart rate,
your respiration, your pupil dilation.

A dopamine rush
causes all these things
when you're crushing on someone.

Your arousal,
your hormonal levels.

That information just gets uploaded
and sent to some cloud for analysis.

Wearables, like watches,
glasses or headphones,
could take in a range of these biometrics
while you're on a date.

It's like a Fitbit and it'll connect back
to an app to help you figure out
if you really like a person or not.

If we can actually have
all these data points
that I can actually look
and anchor my decision around,
I think that could be really helpful.

Dawoon Kang cares a lot about dating apps.

She founded one called Coffee Meets Bagel.

I'm really excited about
informing the daters, like you, yourself.

All about yourself
and about the type of relationship
that really kind of gets you going.

And an app that could plug
into biometric data could do just that.

If there were a device that were able
to measure this biological response
it would save me a lot of question marks.

I'd have to see how that technology
would really work,
but it seems like a little too much.

I dunno, I gotta be honest.

It'll not only help
you understand your feelings,
but the feelings of others too.

If you think this is too unrealistic
or too much like
an episode of Black Mirror
Three, two, one.
Go.

Well, think again.

Tech companies are already
trying to track your emotions.

Apple has studied how facial recognition,
patterns of speech,
and more affect emotions
and even bought a start-up
working on that tech.

So can artificial intelligence
be more emotionally intelligent?
When it comes to dating today,
a lot of people aren't so sure.

Right now, I would say
that the accuracy is low.

As in it's very easy to confuse, eh,
a person being in love,
to a person having chocolate.

That area of Dessa's brain
that lit up,
it's also the same region
triggered by an Instagram like.

And poorly calibrated biometrics
could just end up showing
that you're feeling turned on.

My biometric data is showing me,
"Wow, my heart rate is racing
and I'm super into this person.
"
It doesn't necessarily translate
into long-term compatibility.

But in the future,
it'll be a different story.

Dating apps will tell
the difference between
how you react to an attractive person,
the food you crave,
and a bunch of cute kittens.

And years from now,
it's possible dating apps' algorithms
will be able to deliver
more equitable matches.

It'll even tell you when a person
might not be a good idea,
even though it detects that you like them.

Nope.
You can't spend
another Sunday watching golf.

He's too much of a gamer for you.

Imagine getting warned
someone's too similar to your ex.

Sure, his beard is cute.

But you might as well
be dating Tom all over again.

It'll be a sort of mediator
between you and, well, yourself.

The logical if slightly
insane conclusion is that,
one will find one's perfect match,
your jaw will drop
as to the level of compatibility.

And it's not like this tech
will make an exit once we find a partner.

Dating apps could be
more than matchmakers.

They're already trying to figure out how
to do more than have you just swipe right.

That definitely seems ripe territory.

Apps that maybe facilitate
your relationship a bit more.

In the future,
they could become relationship coaches.

It could say, "Hey, we've noticed that
your partner says
they're feeling unhappy lately.
"
"Have you done X, Y,
and Z to try to improve that?"
Actually, early on
if we had an AI dating coach,
I definitely think planning
would have been a lot easier.

For instance, Anjna's birthday,
when Anjna says, "No I don't want
a lot of friends at my birthday,
I wanna keep it casual and small.
"
They didn't mean it,
they meant they wanted a big surprise
that I was supposed to plan.

Why stop there?
Instead of doing an emotional check-in
with your significant other,
apps could do it for you.

A dating app could become
the life coach of the future.

All that biometric data
could help us make better choices,
but is that what we really want?
And when it comes to dating,
do we want to be matched perfectly
by an algorithm
and then be nudged into our best behavior?
I wouldn't like that.

I don't think you would like that.

Because it's not like
if the digital, if Siri is like,
"Hey, tell Antonia
she looks pretty today," or whatever.

And then you'd be like, "Well, did the"
Like, "Did he think I look pretty?"
"Or is he being told by the robot?"
If dating is
super sanitized and optimized,
I think we're missing out on some of those
formative embarrassments,
misunderstandings.

There's something nice about AI
being a tool for people to understand more
about how to attempt making connections.

But it can end up hindering
a lot of people
from learning how to make connections.

Because you have a program
that figures out how to connect with you,
versus you having
to do that work your damn self.

All of this sort of
takes the fun out of it.

So maybe dating apps
shouldn't be that perfect.

But there is a world where these
advancements can improve your matches
and still allow us to be ourselves.

Real relationships happen in those
unpredictable, unscripted moments.

The secret may lie in the thing
that dating apps helped destroy,
oh, so long ago.

Spontaneity.

In the future, we'll all have an adorable
how-we-met story,
and we won't have to live
in a Hollywood movie
or have met in the 1940s to do it.

Those meet-cutes from earlier
were onto something.

The excitement of randomly bumping
into someone
can help us behave more like ourselves.

Whatever happened to getting to know
someone in the moment, you know?
Like meeting someone in public or like,
not knowing everything about each other.

Yeah, that sounds great.

So, is there a way to engineer
a date like that in the future?
Technologist Julian Bleeker has an idea.

I imagine this world
in a dating context, it sounds super fun.

Where actually, it's more of an experience
that essentially took you on a kind of
an evening's journey.

Where it felt like there was
more likelihood and probability
that you would meet someone
more organically.

Almost like this gaming element.

So you're being told to, like,
"Okay, so now go to this
particular restaurant or this club
or go to this bar,
sit at the end of this bar,"
and you're wondering,
"Why am I sitting at the end?"
Years from now,
when you're in the mood to meet someone,
all you have to do is opt in
to your dating app.

Just like it'll be in tune
with your biometrics,
the app of the future will also
be in tune with your schedule.

After you enter meet-cute mode,
it'll guide you
to a spontaneous run-in with a great match
who has also opted into the app.

Once you bump into each other,
you won't even realize
that you're on a date.

Finally, a bit of romance.

And I think adding that other dimension
to it seems incredibly powerful.

If you can attach some kind
of curated sequence of events
that actually make
you forget you're dating!
Yeah, so that's more of like, my speed.

If you can
"fake" spontaneity,
if someone is also into that, I feel like
that would be a pretty good match for me.

Through all the advancements
in biometric data,
the app already has a good idea of the
type of person you want to hang out with.

No more swiping.

They should name the app "Fate"
because that's literally what it is.

If I was at a bar
and I met somebody in person
and I found out later
it was the AI who set it up,
I would probably be thankful.

You know, we found each other!
Using technology to make
our lives feel less programmed?
Welcome to the future of dating.

It sounds interesting,
but I wanna know first,
who's controlling it?
Suggesting that like,
"Hey, we know what's best for you.
"
"Be with this person.
"
If it was my mom controlling it,
I'd be with a preacher's son
that I met in 1987.

We promise,
our moms will not be
in control of our dating apps.

But maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing
if dating felt like a bit of a throwback.

I hope that dating is like
how it was in the old days.

By some miracle, out of all these people,
we found each other
in this one random place.

And it's just completely organic.

'Cause falling in love
has never gone out of style.

That first moment can go a long way.

Somebody walks in the room
and there's just a, like, "Yo
who's that?"
- We met up for drinks
- Yes.

and it was really fun.

And then while we were
in the first date,
- I asked him on another date the next day.

- Next day.

- At the very place we're getting married.

- Yeah.

And in the future,
dating apps will help you get there.

Dating shows?
Well, that's a different story.

Hinge, Instagram, dating show?
Like, why am I still single? I don't know.

But if we are lucky enough
to find someone,
there'll be plenty of highs,
lows, laughs, and tears.

Or just a lot of Netflix and chill.

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