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Stats AI

How Machine Learning Can Transform Online Dating 183

Posted by timothy
from the it-can-please-hurry-up-while-I'm-in-my-30s dept.
First time accepted submitter hrb1979 writes "Thought I'd share an interview with Kang Zhao — the professor behind the machine learning algorithm which could transform online dating. His algorithm takes into account both a user's tastes (in an approach similar to the Netflix recommendation engine) and their attractiveness (by analyzing how many responses they get) — enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches. His research was recently covered in both a Forbes' article and the MIT Technology Review, though this interview provides more depth and color."
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How Machine Learning Can Transform Online Dating

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  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:50AM (#45828601) Journal

    All the algorithms in the world aren't going to help when the intersection of "people you'd care to date" and "people who'd care to date you" is empty. What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

    • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:55AM (#45828653)

      What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

      Don't they already have that algorithm up and working here at Slashdot?

      • It also appears to be very accurate. lol
      • People are complex, I would likely get no hits if I joined a dating site. After reading about my career you would think either the photo is a fake or the profile description. I don't fit with how Hollywood portrays the computer nerd as a matter of fact most of the people I work with don't.

        My wife and I have a running joke, I'm her husband the nerd but when her new friends or coworkers meet me they are surprised by my long blond hair, jeans, and t-shirt because I'm a regular guy, I hit the heavy bag, I like

        • by Optali (809880)

          here at my office if you don't knew where you were you could think that it was the redaction of Metal Hammer \m/

          • Most of the people in my office are very aware that sitting at a desk 9-12 hours a day is bad after one of our younger coworkers managed to go to the hospital for a back problem because he sneezed. Small portable exercise equipment is not uncommon.

            We have a lot of musicians also, there used to be a couple bands that worked in our Tier I helpdesk, a 60,70,80,90s rock/metal cover band and a metal core band. They would bring their guitars in and have them setting up in their cubicles. {can't leave them in the

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:00AM (#45828705) Homepage

      No kidding. I've known a few people who aren't exactly the best catches who refuse to date anybody who looks anything less than a supermodel.

      If you're 80 pounds overweight, or a raging nerd, or whatever, and you refuse to date someone who isn't perfect ... you're going to be single and lonely for a long time.

      I've known way too many people with their own defects (and who among us doesn't have them, especially here) who looked at potential partners and turned up their nose for stupid reasons -- a little overweight, wears glasses, curly hair.

      Not saying you need to date the ugliest person you can find, but having a realistic expectation of what you might actually get goes a long way.

      Don't be the Comic Book Guy saying "Oh, I've wasted my life" and passing up opportunities. If you're a 5, don't shoot for a 10.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:10AM (#45828779) Homepage
        I think the issue is that nobody is perfect. There is no single "ideal" person, male or female. Somebody who comes from a society with arranged marriages explained this to me, and why those relationships often end up working out better. Because both people going into it know that it is something they are going to have to work on, and that not everything about their relationship will be perfect. I'm not saying that arranged marriages are the right answer, but going into a relationship with the expectation that you'll have to work through difficulties can help a lot. So many people give up at the first sign of a problem. They want everything to come easy, be it with relationships, school, jobs, and any other aspect of life.
        • Nature vs. Nurture. At the end of the day, relationships may not last because people are just too different. While there's adaptability, the rate in which people culturally change slows as they get older. Also, the brain is hard-wired for certain predispositions. Sometimes the natural behavior of one person will never compliment that of another. In some cases, enough cultural change will be enough to offset that persons natural behavior. It really is a balance between nature vs. nurture that determines the

        • Sounds like "realistic expectations" to me. Another comment from a similar colleague: Arranged marriages (at the level his family expected) were more like business partnerships put together by VCs. The families and/or their agents/matchmakers were looking for good combinations who would not have met by chance - even if they went to the same school or trade show (if only because genders are carefully polite in their culture).
        • by Zibodiz (2160038) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:00PM (#45830155)
          This. However, I will add something: Having similar goals and work ethic is important. I think, ultimately, people can work through almost any differences with a positive outcome, as long as their religion, work ethic, and life goals are similar. Pretty much the 'big picture' stuff. Of the girls I dated before marrying my wife, I can honestly say that I *could* have made it work with any of them, with the exception of those points. Religion is, frankly, flexible enough that it doesn't seem to need to be an exact fit unless one of the people involved is totally consumed by their religion; the two real important points, though, is whether the two people are going in the same direction.
          One of my former girlfriends was extremely lazy. She wound up marrying a guy who fits her perfectly; a disabled vet (dare I call him that? He was in the Army for 1 year before being medically discharged, never got deployed), and they now live on welfare while neither of them works, instead spending their foodstamps on alcohol & cigarettes, and their time making babies.
          Another girl I dated was headed through college with the goal of becoming a middle manager for a large corporation. I'm not sure where she is today, but last I knew, she was getting married to a guy who didn't really have a career goal; seems like a perfect fit to me, since it seems most middle managers need to relocate a few times.
          Now, for contrast: My goals were to become self-employed and start a chain of electronic shops. Early on, that meant many 16+-hour-days with very little pay. I'm now past the really hard part of starting a business, and am well on my way to opening my second shop. The girl I am proud to call my wife is a perfect fit. She's a hard worker, her life goal was basically to spend as much time with family as possible, and she's good at seeing 'the big picture'; we've been married for almost 6 years now, and there's no question that we're a perfect match. When we first met, our interests, tastes in music, hobbies, food preferences, culture, families -- they were all pretty different. Of course, in the past decade or so, we've gradually become more alike, but ultimately it all really had no bearing on our happiness. The only thing that mattered was that we were going the same direction.
          Also worth noting: we met on the Internet and became friends before we met in person or really got a good idea of what each other looked like. We didn't base our relationship on physical attraction, but rather on friendship.
      • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:28AM (#45828977)

        Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything. One the other hand, people dating on looks may just get what they deserve.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I agree with you, but I've also known someone who is 100+ pounds overweight who outright refuses to date women who are also a little on the heavy side. It's hard not to think "have you really looked at yourself in a mirror?"

          Some people just have completely unrealistic expectations about who they might potentially be able to date.

          Me, I figure find someone you can get along with and have things in common with, and the rest is just details.

          • by gweihir (88907)

            I think the problem is more that these people have a complete unrealistic self-image. For tech people, you can observe that regularly in forums: The ones claiming the highest authority are typically somewhere from clueless to mediocre. I think this is the same effect at work. On the plus side, this means far less likelihood of these idiots reproducing, so I do not believe "fixing" this is desirable.

            • I think the problem is more that these people have a complete unrealistic self-image. For tech people, you can observe that regularly in forums: The ones claiming the highest authority are typically somewhere from clueless to mediocre. I think this is the same effect at work. On the plus side, this means far less likelihood of these idiots reproducing, so I do not believe "fixing" this is desirable.

              That may be a different issue: the Dunning-Kruger effect [wikipedia.org]. Unless social grace can be considered an "expertise", which is an interesting philosophical notion.

              • "That may be a different issue: the Dunning-Kruger effect [wikipedia.org]. Unless social grace can be considered an "expertise", which is an interesting philosophical notion."

                I think it is. Among all the people I know, the really smart ones tend to be the humble ones. You almost have to drag it out of one of them that he got a top (they rank you numerically) degree at Oxford and a robotics phd from Cambridge. One of those guy's who'd be able to teach you a new concept after the two of you had just read the

          • Huh? Of course if you're heavy you are looking for a slim counterpart. You don't want your offspring to be super-heavy, right?

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:01PM (#45829355)

          Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything.

          There's a big difference between only dating supermodels and refusing to date someone who's extremely unattractive (for instance, morbidly obese). A lot of men avoid overly-attractive women as they assume they're "high maintenance", and look for women in the next tier down (the "girl next door" type); they want someone who's attractive, but not so beautiful that they're going to be a PITA and have those neuroses you talk of (and demand he spend all kinds of money on her so she can have weekly spa treatments, ridiculously expensive designer clothes, etc.). This doesn't mean they're willing to date a woman who's 300 pounds.

          Looks are important: if you're not at all physically attracted to someone, you're not going to have an easy time maintaining a romantic relationship with them. For men, you may have serious problems "getting it up" if you don't find the woman at least somewhat attractive.

          • by gweihir (88907)

            You are talking about criteria for an one-night-stand, not for a relationship or for founding a family. Maybe that is the reason so few relationships keep these days: Wrong selection criteria.

            • A marriage without chemistry is going to be difficult. Even in arranged marriages, chemistry is considered -- the mothers are looking for someone who will make their offspring both happy and secure, and will accept and be accepted by the rest of the family. (Of course, this ignores marrying-for-money and political marriages, but these are not the norm!)
            • by cayenne8 (626475)

              You are talking about criteria for an one-night-stand, not for a relationship or for founding a family. Maybe that is the reason so few relationships keep these days: Wrong selection criteria.

              Err....that's how relationships start....a guy looks to get laid, goes through a number of women till one he finds is a "keeper".

              One night stands/dating, is the audition....

              • by Immerman (2627577)

                Actually not - from what I've heard the research suggests that as a rule guys tend to have a pretty good idea what we're looking for before we ever get involved with a woman. If we're looking to get laid, the relationship probably won't develop any further than that. If we're looking for something more, then we'll tend to stick around at least until it becomes clear she's not the one.

                • by cayenne8 (626475)

                  Actually not - from what I've heard the research suggests that as a rule guys tend to have a pretty good idea what we're looking for before we ever get involved with a woman. If we're looking to get laid, the relationship probably won't develop any further than that. If we're looking for something more, then we'll tend to stick around at least until it becomes clear she's not the one.

                  Yeah, but after the usual period, if she's not giving you any...you're not gonna hang around much longer to find out anythin

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything. One the other hand, people dating on looks may just get what they deserve.

          Err, I dunno. Like the old saying goes:

          Beauty is skin deep

          Ugly is to the bone

          Beauty always fades away

          But ugly holds it own....

          :)

          But on a serious note...attractions begins, especially with men...visually.

          You never walk into a bar

          • No, you look around and see the ones that are good looking and fit your image of a good looking chick

            Everyone is attracted to looks somewhat, but I think it depends on your outlook. Your stereotypical sexist pig may do exactly what you describe, but for most people the image is deeper than physical attractiveness - i.e. the way someone moves gives an indication of their personality, as do their facial expressions. This is what grabs people, rather than bone symmetry and breast size.

            are you going to be happy fucking someone that isn't attractive to you

            Someone you love is going to be attractive to you.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Problem is that's all you get on dating websites. A photo, probably airbrushed. Some generic interests, maybe a paragraph written by the person. You have to be willing to contact a lot of people to find ones you might really get on with.

      • by Sique (173459)
        I don't think you got it right. There are people who are not much into dating at all, and while they might not say no to a supermodel, most other people to them are just not worth the hassle. They don't put much effort into dating at all, and if they refuse a date, it's not because they think they could do better, it's because they simply aren't interested. Not everyone boosts their self-esteem by trying to score as many dates as possible.

        I for once never was much into dating at all, and I don't think I e

        • by jemmyw (624065)

          as I am not an U.S. american, diamond rings are out of question anyway

          I'm interested: I'm not an american but I'm pretty sure I can buy diamonds if I wanted, they don't check your nationality. What gives?

      • since it's slashdot, here is a very sensible algorithm for dating...

        take a hard honest look at yourself and all your pluses and minus, and rank yourself 1 to 10. its important to be realistic...

        now, give yourself a range of +1.5 to -1.5 and only go after others who fall in that range.

        so for example, if your a 7, your range should be 5.5 to 8.5...

        it really isn't the dumbest thing ever.

        • by Sique (173459)
          Actually, it's not so easy, as a 1..10 scale is not really covering anything. I would for instance have a problem dating a devout, pious woman, though she might be attractive by most other criteria. On the other hand, if she appears bookish and has excellent verbal skills (or even be bilingual), I could be very interested. For some reason I seem to fall for some quirks in the personality of people. I am really bad at estimating other people's intelligence, but I like it if they appear to think strategically
      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        No kidding. I've known a few people who aren't exactly the best catches who refuse to date anybody who looks anything less than a supermodel.

        If you're 80 pounds overweight, or a raging nerd, or whatever, and you refuse to date someone who isn't perfect ... you're going to be single and lonely for a long time.

        I've known way too many people with their own defects (and who among us doesn't have them, especially here) who looked at potential partners and turned up their nose for stupid reasons -- a little o

        • The men who have figured out that game know how to spot the women with low self esteem. Women with low self esteem need the sex to feel desired to feel good about themselves.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            The men who have figured out that game know how to spot the women with low self esteem. Women with low self esteem need the sex to feel desired to feel good about themselves.

            Of course, low esteem women definitely present a "target rich environment", but I'm not talking just about that...if you know how to come off as confident in yourself, have a bit of a sense of humor, and KNOW how to get in a womans head, you have a very good chance of getting her into bed, and more if you want it.

            It isn't all about ge

      • I'm always surprised when I run into the contrary examples of women dating men who are by most measures less attractive than they are.

        The two examples that come to the top of my head are both good friends of my wife and I.

        One woman is in top physical shape (runs like 25 miles a week), high end corporate job (director of a hospital) and her husband is an easy 75 pounds overweight and some kind of rank-and-file finance guy. In three major respects, looks, earnings, and "job status" he's at a lower level than

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          This happens often enough that I figure that simple "looks" is far less important to women than it is to men, and that many women are either willing to overlook some aspects of appearance or simply don't care.

          I call this the "Billy Joel Syndrome"...remember how he, as a short, kinda ugly dude, was banging (and later married for awhile) Christie Brinkley?

          So, thankfully for us guys, women aren't as visually hung up as we are about our prospective mates. I mean, you DO need to be somewhat presentable....but

        • This happens often enough that I figure that simple "looks" is far less important to women than it is to men, and that many women are either willing to overlook some aspects of appearance or simply don't care.

          My wife and I participated in a couples group that focused on relationship and marriage. At one point, we were asked, "Are you turned on by your partner's looks?"

          All the men said, "You bet we are!"

          ALL the women said, "not at all."

          Us guys were really surprised by this. It's not that they weren't turned on by their husbands, it's that it was other attributes that did it for them.

      • In the immortal words of George Carlin:

        "I've never fucked a 10, but one night I fucked five 2's, and I think that oughta count."

      • by antdude (79039)

        Yeah, I am one of them who was born with multiple disabilities. I am still single, can't reproduce due to defective genes, disabled, can't drive, never had a date before, almost 40 years, etc. :~(

      • by Optali (809880)

        I've known way too many people with their own defects.

        I only know people with hired ones, as ownership tends to be very expensive.

    • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:15AM (#45828849)

      What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

      Someone already wrote that in Perl. It's called Craigslist.

    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations because they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

      FTFY. Nobody is a supermodel, or terribly interesting.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations

      I suspect that's exactly what his algorithm does.

      enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:56AM (#45829289)

      What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

      The problem here is that there's no way for an algorithm to know these things about someone. No one puts on their online dating profile, "I'm a cheap-ass, I have terrible manners, and I still have issues about my ex-wife even though we divorced 15 years ago." They only put the good parts. They even dress up the photos, like showing only their face in particular artful poses if they're obese, so you can't easily tell that from the photos.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Yeah, I am one of them who was born with multiple disabilities. I am still single, can't reproduce due to defective genes, disabled, can't drive, never had a date before, almost 40 years, etc. :(

  • Dupe (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:51AM (#45828619)

    His research was recently covered in both a Forbes' article and the MIT Technology Review

    It was also recently covered on Slasdot [slashdot.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This doesn't take into account chemistry, which is where feeling love comes from. If you want the logical mate, then sure you can probably create something like this. If you want a real match, you'll also need to send in hormones and blood samples for testing. It would probably also help if people didn't lie so much online.

  • by sinij (911942)
    Garbage In Garbage Out.

    Who writes honest truth in the online dating profile? It is all about posturing and posing.
    • by sinij (911942)
      For people downvoting above - the reason you are still single is because you have unrealistically high opinion of your own charm, attractiveness, generosity, and achievements. Relationships are about getting along and building trust, not about putting yourself on a pedestal with a puffed-up profile. Unlike job interviews, it hurts relationships to over-sell yourself by introducing inevitable disappointment and distrust at the very early stages of it.
      • Re:GIGO (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:24AM (#45828935)

        > the reason you are still single is because you have unrealistically high opinion of your own charm

        As opposed to " the reason you are still single is because you don't try"? Arrogance, which is what you're describing, can actually help. It can provide the confidence to actually ask out potential dates, to believe that you're worth spending time with, and get you past failures. Never trying is guaranteed failure, and it's too common.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Totally wrong. Arrogance and lying actually work really well for many men. Those men get laid a lot more than the honest and humble men. You can debate whether it's worth it in the long term or not (he might be stuck with multiple child-support payments in his 40s), but it is a winning reproductive and dating strategy.

        • +1 spot on

        • This reminds me of the old story about college roommates going to a party. The guy who drove immediately walks up to a babe and whispers in her ear, and gets slapped. Walks up to another, gets slapped again. The other guy shakes his head and goes to get a beer and find a conversation. Later, having gotten nowhere and wondering about his ride home, he looks for the first guy and can't find him anywhere. Finally the driver reappears with a smile on his face, and in no mood to leave. "Why not? Aren't yo
  • Somehow I get the feeling that I won't have any success with this. I'm a typical Slashdot user.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:01AM (#45828713) Homepage Journal

    The perfect formula for matchmaking:

    Males: Enter income.
    Females: Enter attractiveness.

    Match up most attractive to highest earners.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You forgot height, since every woman online has a binary filter rating anyone under 6' unacceptable.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Reminds me of that Fix TV show where a woman married a millionaire sight unseen. When they got home she found and ordinary house with a discarded toilet in the back yard, she found an ordinary looking woman under the heavy studio make-up.

  • Frink: Well, theoretically, yes. But the computer matches would be so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest. Mw-hurgn-whey.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kind of like job interviews. It's not that hard, really: if they don't like you after you're in the door, you've still gotten out of your mom's basement for a day and had a chance to steal some pens. It also gets you a chance to talk to the people who actually *work* at the company, who know what department actually needs your real job skills. Same with "si8ngles" dating. Even if the "single" is a real brown bagger, she may have friends who are interesting to meet and will "rescue" their friend by distracti

  • Dating Sites (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bigbutt (65939) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:15AM (#45828839) Homepage Journal

    Being recently divorced (last year), I started poking around at the various dating sites. Let's see, I don't smoke, I effectively don't drink alcohol (one beer a year doesn't make me a "drinker"), I'm a gamer (you'd be amazed at the number of women who think gamers are "childish"), and I'm not into sports (lots of women who go to football/baseball/hockey games). I do like going hiking in the mountains, snowshoes, skiing, I like bicycling. But I'm not a fitness fanatic which also eliminated quite a few women. I'm not religious which eliminated a few more.

    After eliminating the mis-matches, I started paring down the other issues. Based on profiles, I got down to about 60 women in the area who might be an match based on shared interests. I received no replies to my e-mails but I did receive three unrelated emails. One from a women in Australia. One from a woman in Texas who had pictures of her daughter leaning on a car (which was a bit creepy). And one from a woman who plays guitars who appeared to be looking for a man in every city.

    Amusingly on my birthday (hit 56), my match list dropped to zero. Every one of the women were looking for guys 55 or younger. So I expanded my search until I got to a couple of women in a 250 mile radius.

    For some of us (a small percentage I suppose), the dating sites really aren't helping. And since women receive all the emails, they have the choice of who to go out with.

    Humorously I was chosen to moderate pictures on okcupid for a bit. The guys do send some very suggestive emails (and some not so suggestive!).

    [John]

    • Sorry to hear that. Being alone sucks, it's as simple as that. The best thing that you can do is act like you have a shit-ton of money (somehow) and more than likely, you'll get some 20-something-yo chick.

      Happiness is something that's you can achieve however, and it has nothing to do with other people. Best of luck either way.
      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Actually I'm pretty satisfied with where my life is right now. I hadn't intended on hitting the dating sites but was curious as that's where I met my ex back in '99. And honestly being alone is actually pretty good. I can sit at home and read a book without feeling guilty about not _doing_something_. Plus I've done a lot of work around the house and yard that were off limits in the past.

        So really, I'm good right now. And I think that's what's important. Being good with yourself and eventually (or not) the r

        • Yeah I find it hard to take dating sites seriously, but they seem to be fine for some folks. It may be because in the past, I hooked up with some chicks and it always turned out to be odd.

          Sounds like you're heading in the right direction. All the best!
    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Being recently divorced (last year), I started poking around at the various dating sites. Let's see, I don't smoke, I effectively don't drink alcohol (one beer a year doesn't make me a "drinker"), I'm a gamer (you'd be amazed at the number of women who think gamers are "childish"), and I'm not into sports (lots of women who go to football/baseball/hockey games). I do like going hiking in the mountains, snowshoes, skiing, I like bicycling. But I'm not a fitness fanatic which also eliminated quite a few women

      • This is probably part of your problem. I hate to say it, but you're too old for online dating: women in your age group aren't very internet-savvy,

        Bingo. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but they haven't been there long.

        On the plus side for the OP, the older you get, the more the female:male ratio goes up in the real world.

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I figured the women who like sports and dogs (where are all the cat girls :D ) are doing so to attract guys. I grew up with cats and have a bit of anxiety around dogs, mostly from a pretty good scare when I was a kid.

        Yea, I came to the age conclusion too. I don't know how to "act my age". Much of what I find enjoyable is associated with the younger crowd. Heck, quite a few folks seem honestly surprised when they discover my age and estimate it at 10 years younger.

        Clean living :)

        [John]

        • by russotto (537200)

          I figured the women who like sports and dogs (where are all the cat girls :D )

          They're at home with their 1001 cats. Stay far away.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Actually, I just thought of something for you: have you tried Meetup.com? Around my area, there's tons of hiking/outdoor groups on Meetup, and a lot of people (of all ages) seem to use these hiking groups as singles mixers. You don't have to be single to go on hikes, but a lot of the people I meet on there seem to be. I've met lots of older (50+) women on the hikes I've been on.

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I actually have considered it. I'm a co-organizer for probably the biggest gaming Meetup site in our area (almost 900 members :) ). So I'm familiar with meetup.com. One of my friends is a member of one of the sites. I think part of that problem is they are _hiking_ meetups and not 'strolling' meetups. While I do like to hike. I'm not good with 20 milers :) I am checking out the others though to see if there's a less strenuous one.

        [John]

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          No, if you want to meet single women, you have to find the "beginner's" or less-strenuous hikes. You're probably not going to meet many women at the advanced, technical hikes. I don't like the 20-milers either; 5 miles is good for me, 10 is the absolute max. People don't go on the fast-paced hikes to chit-chat and meet people. Just join all the hiking (or general outdoors) meetups in your area, and ignore the hikes that say "no beginners", "fast paced, no sweeper", "advanced", have a huge elevation chan

      • by starless (60879)

        As somebody who became single in his mid-50s I strongly second the recommendation for meetup groups.
        They aren't exclusively for single people, but singles are very "over-represented".
        Obviously you want to choose the groups with a large number of people of your favorite gender group.
        For me (looking for a woman) the hiking and the arts related groups were good.
        Even if you don't find dates, you'll likely have a good time and meet new friends.
        Meetup groups give you a low-stress way (because they're not primaril

    • I'm in my 40's and married, but back when I tried seriously using a few of the dating sites (never was willing to pay for the commercial ones, but gave sites like PoF and OKCupid a shot) -- I ran across a general theme for the individual who'd find the most success there. Basically, the formula seemed to be:

      1. Into sports
      2. Posted at least one sexy/arousing type photo instead of only head-shots
      3. Somewhere in the "under 35" age range
      4. Liked to "go out for a few beers/drinks" (but not "drink heavily", of co

  • "His algorithm takes into account both a user's tastes (in an approach similar to the Netflix recommendation engine) and their attractiveness (by analyzing how many responses they get) — enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches."

    I'd send them a hiring offer for a Photoshop Job, but that's just me.

  • So, in other words, the machine will tell you, "Hey dude, you might as well talk to this homely girl, because we've analyzed your interests and your apparent attractiveness and you're not going to do any better than this".

  • That's a nice ${ANATOMICAL_PART} you've got there.

  • I'm guessing that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques would come into play whereby geeks could artificially inflate their relevance/attractiveness to game the system. Once again the nerds get the supermodels... right?
    • by hoggoth (414195)

      I think this is relevant: How Amy Webb hacked online dating:

      http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_webb_how_i_hacked_online_dating.html [ted.com]

    • I pretty much came in here to say this. People already game the system in so many intricate ways, but those ways at least are social engineering techniques that mean you at least have to have a clue about how people tick (and thus in a social situation, like a date, you can reasonably hold your own/not suck at being a conversationalist). But if you're optimizing against a machine algorithm the sky's the limit. Make a few fake profiles and hit yourself up to increase your attractiveness score, or convince
  • My main criteria for a girl are

    1. Can not be bat shit crazy.

    2. Not a midget. (How the hell did I end up on a blind date with a midget? It was like going out with a child, I think my 7 year old niece is taller. Before anybody asks it's true, I've actually been on a blind date with a little person, I'm not being sarcastic about that.)

    Apparently it's going to be difficult to find both of those in 1 girl.

  • As it stands, I only get replies from bots and eharmony has scientifically proven that nobody on the face of the planet is compatible with me. Yes, I am serious. Yes, this is the main reason I brew very strong, very high quality mead. Inside work, I'm a meaningless drone in a stagnant occupation. Outside of work, the only company I keep is a three gallon jar. It's not a good conversationalist but it has a greater capacity for thought than my co-workers, which is something.

    The older I get, the more I realize

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