The alteration has already begun, the pandemic has only accelerated it. Our lifestyle, behavior, value judgments, even our emotions change. When the pandemic finishes, life will continue in the new normal order. Even Valentine’s Day, one of the sympathetic habits of the consumer society may have its share of change. Even if it is on February 14 each year, it will be celebrated differently than before.
Love knows no distance, adapts to life with online dating
The combination of digital transformation and pandemic has led not only to business and social relationships, but also to emotional interaction to more online platforms. As the process of working from home became prolonged, the number of people who wanted to overcome the social distance gap with emotional intimacy increased, especially the Y generation who stayed away from socializing areas. They and all the others who felt lonely themselves turned from the most favorite addresses of the digital universe to dating platforms.
OkCupid officials said to Bloomberg that they observed an increase in the interaction of Y generation users and pointed out that the topics discussed were also affected by the pandemic. OkCupid recorded a 188% increase in the number of people talking about coronavirus in the first 2 months of the year. In March, the CEO of the dating site The Inner Circle, which recorded a 116% increase in messaging count in a week, agreed with this finding. David Vermeulen told CNBC-E that there was an 800% increase in members who talked about ‘quarantine’.
According to Deutsche Welle (DW), users are more gentle in their communication on online dating platforms than before. Because they are more willing to chat more often and for longer. 53% of online dating platform users who answered Statista.com’s April survey state that their use has increased during the pandemic process. In the UK, daily conversations on the famous online dating platform Tinder increased by 12% between mid-February and late March, according to BBC News. According to news of DW Tinder increased the number of daily messages in March by up to 25% in countries such as Italy and Spain. The length of conversations also increased by 10% to 30% compared to February. In fact, dating networks were a dating and meeting platform especially for western users from the beginning. But in the pandemic, just being able to meet was a great pleasure. Free dating understanding was subjected to the online quarantine in this way.
Economic crisis makes even online dating difficult
The pandemic process has been both a great opportunity and a threat to online dating apps. Because, together with the usage rates, economic problems have also increased. This has resulted in a reduction in users’ budgets that they can spend on dating apps. In an interview with BBC News, Elie Seidman, Tinder’s Chief Executive Officer emphasizes that social distancing conditions have brought wealthy new users to online dating platforms. For example, Tinder users searched 3 billion profiles worldwide on Sunday, March 29th. This was the maximum profile searches of the app in operation for nearly 8 years has recorded in one day. Seidman says that the stability in user’s behavior before the pandemic underwent a “dramatic change” in a short time. Because while the trend towards free online dating platforms increases, the percentage of paid users is gradually decreasing for platforms such as Tinder whose revenue rests on premium subscriptions.
Tinder’s boss said that “it is difficult to predict unemployment figures in the USA. I am very concerned about the impact of developments in the economy on many of our members,” he said. Tinder has been downloaded more than 340 million times since its launch in 2012. However, a great majority of its revenue comes from just 6 million subscribers paying for the more exclusive “premium” service. Brent Thill, who is a analyst of Jeffries, evaluating the situation to Bloomberg decreases its annual revenue growth forecast from 16% to 9% for Match Group Inc., which has the world’s most popular dating apps such as Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge.
Video chat replaced with the meeting
In pandemic online dating, classic meeting has been replaced with video chat. Platforms such as EHarmony, OKCupid, and Match, which allow video and audio chats have shown a huge increase in video calls in the pandemic. Zach Schleien, the founder of Filter Off, one of the applications that offer live video chat said that the number of users doubled in the last 2 weeks of March. It was also stated that the number of voice calls and video chats in Bumble increased by 84% in March. Tinder, which offered users video profile in April with its Loops feature turned to the video dating function. It is a issue of concern whether virtual dating through video calling can maintain its popularity when physical meetings return to the pre-pandemic process.
A profitable market
Various analyzes show the value of the global online dating market between $ 6 billion and $ 10 billion. Before the pandemic, people were increasingly willing to pay for services that were likely to result in successful matches. Thus, the market was growing rapidly. Because of the glamor of the market, Facebook also launched its own dating initiative last September. On the other hand, Tinder provided its paid subscribers with the ability to connect with people around the world to gain a competitive advantage regardless of geographic location.
The senses are the mirror of truth
In many issues in life, there was never a single truth. But the truth was single. 5 senses were enough to determine the truth. A healthy average brain would analyze the data obtained from the senses and register them as reality. Like all behaviors and reactions, emotions would consider the facts reached by the data flow provided by the senses. So even loves used to be more real in the earlier times. Because eyes wouldn’t lie. Sound, smell, and contact would support, shape, and direct the feelings.
According to anthropologist Anna Machin, people use all five senses to assess whether there is genetic compatibility with a potential partner. Machin told CNBC that “You can visually assess facial symmetry and read body language, which is a sign of strong genes. You can hear the tone of voice and listen to what it says, an indicator of intelligence”. These are important tips for those looking for love online on the choice to make. The bad news is that the release of neurochemical oxytocin, which is the basis of touch and physical attraction, and scent, which is an indicator of genetic congruence, especially for women is impossible for online dating.
In addition, artificial intelligence (ai) is now lighting the blue touch paper debates on “disembodied existence or techno-body” for advanced stages of technology. Let’s say the body has lost its indispensability, the mind no longer needs the body. Then wouldn’t the senses lose their expertise in determining the truth? Doesn’t the perceived absolute reality disappear? In this case, there is a new area of reality that can be designed. The reality that constitutes the basic input of all our decisions and choices until today disappears. The fact that being open to alternative realities, defined as duality today occurs.
Perfect loves start with deepfakes
Those who believe in love always look for their soul mate. Those who defend love look at spiritual beauty, not physical beauty. It seems that those who look for true love with these criteria will have no trouble finding love in the online future of technology. Digital bodies and artificial spirits will also alter the reality of love.
We have mentioned in previous articles that AI initiatives started to sell synthetic avatar human faces and physical designs, which they created with the help of algorithms over artificial neural networks, for cinema, TV series, marketing and advertising industries. After the Freelancer deepfakers, new initiatives will undoubtedly be added such as Synthesia.oi and Alethea.ai that go towards Deepfake Catalog Sales. As well, like Alethea.ai, deepfake person profiles don’t have to be avatars designed from scratch. Real people can also offer their faces for sale in these catalogs, to be among the deepfake profile options of these companies.
Here, there are now online dating applications among the corporate customers of the new generation deepfake profiles. Ivan Braun, CEO of Icons8, which sells stock photos and has the capacity to create up to 1 million face profiles every day on demand told BBC News that they have already been providing deepfake faces to university researchers, advertisers, game companies and a dating site. To feed its algorithm, the company took tens of thousands of photos of 70 real faces worldwide in a controlled environment with similar lights and angles. Braun stated that they can create at least 10 deepfake faces for each real face, based on age, ethnicity, hair length and emotions.
Artificial neural network technologies and algorithms are rapidly evolving, making even Rival Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), which made the deepfake first come out 3 years ago, quickly become out-of-date. Voice cloning and synthesis technologies are also competing with them.
On the other hand, online dating platforms do not want to give up the billions of dollars market to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. They are also trying to persuade their fast-growing users to purchase paid memberships to access privileged profiles, despite growing unemployment and economic troubles. For this, they try every way, including deepfakes.
The more attractive real-time hyper-realistic deepfake profiles are, the harder it will be to see them and not fall in love. Deepfake male and female profiles that scatter charm around them with their impressive physique, attractive intelligence, style and stance will soon take the lead role in the cruel online competition. They will participate in instant video chats, create emotional illusion online.
What the mind does not know, does not the heart grieve over?
“If ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise”. It is the famous quote of the 18th century English poet Thomas Gray. (Wikipedia)
Unable to surrender to the unbearable charm of ignorance in every age, humankind cut outs a part of the sentence: “Ignorance is bliss”. However, the poet Thomas Gray isn’t be at fault in this. While he was trying to criticize the ignorance of that age, the ignorant distorts his sentence as it has done for 3 centuries. With the ironical point of view, not knowing the dirty and dangerous facts can keep people away from anxiety and stress and make it easier to live the moment. But to know it is safer. If the person is aware of it, he will accept even the most difficult conditions more easily.
In the near future, if you experience an online chat and dating with the opposite sex anywhere in the world, keep it in mind. Enjoy having found it and your posting online before you get caught up in long-term dreams and marriage plans. Eat mutually online, watch the same movie on Netflix, and chat. Save the moment and be aware that what you cannot experience does not lead to great disappointment. Didn’t loves turn into fast consumption in real life?