Looking for a perfect match? Now, one can discover their potentially best match online rather than some automated match suggestions; thanks to flourishing advancements in data mining. Data analytics has been helping pretty much every industry and service around the globe to make well-informed decisions, further improving their operations and helping them target potential customers. Aside from typical social media, one industry in particular that gained huge success and popularity through data processing was digital dating platform. Online dating websites have been flooding the web since last decade, encouraging more and more people to look for their life partners online. An ever-increasing user base on these websites can be attributed to people thinking they would be able to find practical and lasting relations online with ease, which ridicules the idea of spending excessive time and money in a face-to-face scenario.

You may be wondering love used to be something emotional — something one has to experience first-hand — and how did the online dating websites successfully alter this clichéd mindset of people. Speaking truthfully, dating websites have hardly any room for emotional connection. All they do is crunch a lot of available data, apply their algorithms and find the right pair. These websites have a colossal challenge upfront as the process is significantly complex, involving two parties and not just one. They deploy big data analytics to collect troves of information from the users in the form of questionnaires to provide satisfactory service. These predefined questions and answers are ranked according to a user’s preferences and other available private information.

The most popular online dating websites like OkCupid, Match, Tinder, eHarmony, JDate etc. obtain hundreds of thousands of potential matches every day by running their algorithm on different parameters like the degree of agreeableness, level of compatibility, preference of short or long-term relation, the degree of romantic passion, level of compatibility etc. A matching pair is found out when a significant number of likes of an individual coincides with those of another individual. A study by IBM Analytics has revealed that the divorce rate is only 3.8 percent among the eHarmony users, opposed to the 8 percent among the couples that meet offline. This clearly shows the massive influence that data analytics have on the love life of human beings. The big data comprises of four V’s – Volume, Variety, Velocity and Veracity. Among these, the veracity plays a crucial role in dating websites. On the off-chance, if the respondent isn’t faithful while answering the predefined questions, it may lead to a wrong match. So, not all the information provided by a user can be trusted to find the right match. In order to cope with the unlikely event a user tricks the questionnaire, dating websites also triangulate data from several social media apps and search engines that the user visits to check for the authenticity of the information. By leveraging Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, social media footprints can be traced to get a better understanding of user’s behavior like whether he/she is a music lover, a movie buff, an avid traveler etc. Back in the early days of digital dating, there were not many people that would trust in algorithms to find their better half. Fast forward to today, we now have millions of people seeking websites of the likes of Tinder as face-to-face meetings have proved to be time consuming and highly inefficient. With surveys and reports running in favour of these websites, it could be said, without a speck of doubt, that AI and data analytics have contributed so much into shaping the meaning of love as we know it.

This article was first published in the 22nd edition of Xtravagate, the monthly Newsletter of Department of Management Studies, NIT Trichy.

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