I was amazed when watching a programme on television the other night about the algorithms that support online dating agencies, not with the complexity of the calculations but rather with the number of sites there are and the number of people using them. This is a big business. I am fortunate never have had the need to use one and the programme opened a whole new world to me.
I was struck though with the paradox that if they are successful why do they exist? Some of the people interviewed had been using them for years and would spend an hour a day scrolling through potential dates, swiping left for no and right for yes, searching for that elusive true love. If the algorithms really were effective then ‘the one’ would be found within a few swipes and online dating would be a much smaller affair.
Of course life nor love is like that. Finding an ideal partner is a much more complicated business and it takes time to develop a relationship. Somehow it has been boiled down into a simplistic transaction and it seems that millions of people are left dissatisfied, trawling through candidate after candidate, with the constant prospect of the ideal find just over the next page.
The way we approach other aspects of life has been similarly reduced to a simple yes or no option. Today’s political issues have become a simple swipe left or right, depending upon your standpoint. The terms left wing and right wing arose during the French Revolution when delegates of the French National Assembly gravitated to positions within the assembly hall, anti-royalist revolutionaries on the left of the presiding officer and supporters of the monarchy on the right.
Left and right wing have become pejoratives to deride another’s opinions. As if anything in life is so binary.
Issues have become trivialised by their classification. They are treated like choices in an online dating app whereas solutions to such problems lie in considering all shades of opinion. Today’s online generation appear to need instant gratification yet life is complicated and it takes time to formulate effective policies and law.
In the end, true love is as much about compromise between people rather than simple attraction. There is a moral in there somewhere.