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Following the introduction of Tinder in 2012, we’ve been living in the “on to the next one” paradigm, ending relationships at the first sign of misunderstanding. And the impact of the swipe culture stretches far beyond that. Instead of actually meeting people offline, talking to each other, and discussing issues face to face, we lean in the comfort of emoji, likes, and instant messaging. In addition to a significant communication breakdown, dating apps have become a fertile ground for harassment and cyberbullying. For example, approximately 60% of women who use dating applications claim to be receiving sexually explicit images they haven’t asked for. Meanwhile, the numbers of dating app users who have been called an offensive name or threatened with physical violence stand at 35% and 10%, respectively. Is there a way to persuade the 270 million people who use apps like Badoo and Tinder to adopt a more meaningful approach to dating while fostering a safer, more respectful online environment? As a mobile app startup looking to challenge Bumble and Plenty of Fish, you could turn things around. All you need to do is create a dating app with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

3 reasons to create a dating app with AI features

1. AI-powered dating apps help users find more compatible partners

With early dating websites and apps, such as Match.com, eHarmony, and Grindr, it was only possible to search for potential partners by age, gender, location, sexual orientation, and shared interests — in other words, the very basic filters available in any mobile application with social features. As a result, single-and-looking people had to scroll through thousands of profiles corresponding to these criteria. Today, machine learning (ML) models can do the job for you. Dating apps that use AI may identify common facial features in profile pictures of users a person has swapped left or right and figure out their dating type.
Artificial Intelligence identify common facial features in profile pictures
Image source: Mashable
Besides physical appearance, AI may detect objects in images and show users more profiles of people who, say, play the guitar or frolic on the beach in their pics. For example, Tinder harnesses Amazon Rekognition to detect personality markers and improve the matching algorithm for premium users.
The bad thing is, ML models need training data to make accurate predictions, so you’ll have to spend a lot of time in the app to get more likes and matches.
For lazy singles, AI dating apps offer an option to search for potential partners who resemble celebrities. The feature is currently supported by Dating.AI and Badoo, the dating app veteran with a global audience of 60 million people. Besides matching users with a person who looks like Bill Skarsgård or Gigi Hadid, the celebrity doppelganger feature helps them find and ignore imposters. Some dating AI applications go even further and attempt to predict the chemistry between two people based on their DNA profiles! Of course, we’re talking about DNA Romance, an app that uses artificial intelligence to match couples by linking their DNA samples to sixteen personality types according to the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.

2. AI algorithms encourage dating app users to get to know each other

Remember the Black Mirror’s Hang the DJ episode where a digital coach matched individuals into a relationship? The artificial intelligence dating program, which lived on a Nest-like device, set expiration dates for relationships (some encounters would only last a couple of minutes!) and analyzed breakups to find a better fit.
Lasting, healthy relationships are defined by the amount of time we spend with a person. It is technically impossible to establish an emotional connection with someone if we put quantity over quality. Artificial Intelligence Matchmaker (AIMM) is a real-world dating app that aims to solve this problem. Like the Black Mirror Coach system, the virtual assistant communicates with a person for at least one week before introducing them to other people. The AI-based dating application makes sure to suggest candidates one at a time, thus allowing users to learn a few things about each other and make a well-informed decision about whether they should stick together or move on to the next partner. The application also guides users through the matching process by arranging phone calls and offering dating advice.

3. Artificial intelligence improves the courting experience

A less common way to use AI technology for dating apps revolves around improving the overall dating experience in a variety of ways:
  • Filtering fake accounts and inappropriate content. In a world where 72% of dating app users block other people’s profiles for misbehavior and offensive content, more applications turn to artificial intelligence to curb harassment. An example of this is Tinder’s reporting system that detects improper language and asks users how they feel about it. An algorithm developed by a team of researchers from the University of Warwick flags bot accounts with 99% accuracy based on their IP addresses, messages, and stolen images. And a popular live streaming dating app uses machine learning to spot inappropriate content and block users who spread it.
  • Coming up with personalized recommendations. Sean Rad, Tinder CEO, defines artificial intelligence as a smart filter that knows what people are interested in — and delivers content that best matches their interests. Besides finding users with similar hobbies and life goals, Lara, Match.com’s chatbot that works in sync with Google Assistant, suggests ideal date locations in your area. Another example comes from eHarmony, whose AI studies user behavior to figure out the best time to email each other.
  • Correcting grammar and spelling mistakes. You may spend weeks choosing perfect photos for your Tinder profile and still get 14% fewer responses just because you’ve made two spelling mistakes in the About Me section! In fact, proper grammar ranks higher on your date’s wishlist than good teeth and self-confidence! To fix typos and grammatical errors in your profile and messages, you can use AI-powered tools like Grammarly’s Mobile Keyboard, which also conducts sentiment analysis to make sure you sound friendly and respectful.

How to create a dating app with AI capabilities: tips from ITRex

Between 1995 and 2017, the number of heterosexual couples who initially met online had increased from just 2% to 39%.. This is even more true for same-sex couples, 60% of whom now begin a relationship on dating websites and apps. Digital dating is flourishing for several reasons:
  • Even it were not for the pandemic, our lives have become more digital, and the amount of data we consume daily continues to grow
  • Younger people prefer to focus on their education and careers, meaning they have less time for in-person interactions with peers
  • Our well-being has skyrocketed in the past 20 years — and wealthy, educated individuals tend to socialize less
  • Dating apps reportedly lead to stronger marriages and higher marital satisfaction
But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies for dating app startups. The global dating app revenue topped $3 billion last year, meaning there’s a whole lot of companies fighting for users’ hearts (and wallets!) right now — and only so many applications boasting a solid market share.

What does it take to create an AI-powered dating app with a strong commercial appeal?

These tips from the ITRex dating app developers may give you a hint:
  • Come up with a unique idea. While making a dating app with artificial intelligence features will certainly give you a competitive edge over your rivals, you still have to bring something new to the table. Tastebuds, for example, matches people based on their musical interests. Applications like Ship and Chorus allow your friends to swipe profiles for you until they find a perfect match. And some apps go totally niche, focussing on LGBTQ+ and non-binary people only.
  • Avoid feature creep. Although you might be tempted to build a dating app containing all the fancy AI features we mentioned earlier, you should take one step at a time and launch an application that meets the very basic user needs while highlighting your product’s unique selling point. This “less is more” approach would help you better manage your team and budget and release the application faster.
  • Collect heaps of training data. To create an AI dating app that delivers on its promise, you need training data. Otherwise, your custom machine learning algorithms won’t be able to recognize patterns in user data, make intelligent predictions, and improve their performance over time. Unfortunately, it might be hard to obtain training data for a matching algorithm unless you consider adding AI capabilities to an existing app. Some dating app developers tackle this problem by running fake accounts on popular dating applications and artificially expanding the size of training datasets. Next, you need to beta-test the application with different focus groups and tweak the algorithms based on user feedback.
  • Make use of third-party AI software. Here at ITRex, we profess the technology-agnostic, vendor-neutral approach to software engineering. We also help our clients keep AI development costs down. That’s why we recommend that you utilize as many off-the-shelf frameworks, libraries, and SDKs as possible. And if you find a suitable SaaS, self-hosted, or open-source facial recognition service to power your intelligent profile image suggestion feature, just go for it! And we’ll be more than happy to assist you with software customization and integration 😁
  • Eradicate bias and superficial judgment. Just like other AI-powered applications, dating apps are prone to bias. An example of this could be a dating app showing you only profiles of Caucasian partners if you’ve had similar matches in the past or downvoting your profile if you’re a person of color. One way to address this problem could be using representative training data, evaluating algorithm performance in different user groups, and adding an intermediary explainable AI (XAI) layer on top of your algorithms. And it goes without saying that algorithms that slide into users’ direct messages and profile data should be 100% transparent and never leak personal information (let alone sell it to advertising companies).
Artificial intelligence might be a silver bullet solution to the information overload and cyberbullying problems. Just like marketers and editors turn to AI to source quality content for their clients from all over the web, dating apps utilize machine learning to help users establish finely tuned connections while taking care of their mental health and physical well-being. And if your company is looking to conquer the burgeoning dating app market, the best time to create your AI dating app is now.
P.S. Any questions about using AI technology with dating apps? Looking to build a dating app with AI features? Our dating app developers are here to help.