future-datingTen years ago online dating was still something of a curiosity, with few people using it, or indeed willing to use it to meet a future partner.  In that time however attitudes have shifted significantly, with a sizeable number of people now paired up by algorithms on websites.

Big data promises to significantly change how we find new partners but a recent project from students at Imperial highlighted the potential for Virtual Reality, wearables and even the use of DNA in matching us up with suitable people.

The project saw students work with the dating website eHarmony to explore how dating and relationships could look in 2040.  Their output drew on fields such as sociology, anthropology, biomedicine and technology.

Dr. Sarah Wilsey, Programme Manager of the MSc Management programme at Imperial College Business School said: “This consulting project with eHarmony demonstrates our students’ ability to take the business knowledge and skills they learn during their degree, such as marketing, strategy and research and apply them to a real business brief. The students took a creative approach to the project, drawing on both their business skills and knowledge of Imperial College as a global leader in technology and innovation.”

The future of dating

The report suggests that in 25 years time, dating will be able to call upon all five of the human senses to create a full-sensory virtual reality environment.  The authors believe that this will make dating both more efficient and effective as it would allow users to go on ‘virtual dates’ that mimic many of the features of a real date, but all from the comfort of their own home.

The team also suggest that the rapidly falling price of DNA sequencing will allow us to both understand how DNA influences our attraction to people, but also potentially utilise it as part of the matchmaking process.

Dating is also likely to tap into the huge amount of data generated by our connected devices.  This data will provide a richer understanding of who we are and how we behave, with smart algorithms then capable of matching us with those like us.

Commenting on the findings of the report, EHarmony UK Country Manager, Romain Bertrand, said: “By 2040 we estimate that 70 per cent of couples will get together online, with technology revolutionising the way we find love and build our relationships.

He continued: “This report was compiled by some of the future’s brightest minds, and reflects what we’re already seeing in the online dating industry – that people want to be matched with quality people in the simplest and most efficient way possible. We’re constantly improving our own algorithm with deep learning and we’re already exploring new technologies to help us move forward in line with some of the advances outlined in this report.”

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