Tuesday, 27 February 2018

By The Numbers

It is in the nature of paradigms that they will shift. Often suddenly and of their own accord, giving little chance for preparation, seat-of-the-trousers adjustment and adaptation oft being the only recourse with which one is left. The true trick is that what can seem like a sudden change usually happens over a matter of years, with various indicators along the way that tend to missed, leading to the sensation of waking up in a different world with little notion as to how one got there. Something that has been referred to as the ‘Rip Van Winkle Effect’. 

One of the more recent developments with a trajectory along these lines is the rapid increase in the popularity and use of not only dating sites, which are basically lonely heart’s sections moved from the printed page to the computer screen, but dating ‘apps’. Both of methods of keeping someone at a distance, perceived if not physical, during the early stages of the courtship process. It could even be argued, with a heavy heart, that the word ‘courtship’, in the truest sense, has become yet another funny reminder of a bygone era, like 'thee' and 'courtesy'. 

The stand-up comedian and all-around gadabout Russell Brand once quipped that he had the art of seduction down to a gesture. At roughly this same time, the programmers and marketers behind Tinder, Grinder and to a lesser extent OkCupid, were getting seduction and even courtship down to an science. Literally reducing the process finding a potential mate down to a mathematical equation. The problem with this notion, the flaw at the core of the hypothesis, is that people are not math equations and have more complexities, eccentricities and shades even on an individual level than can ever be captured, let alone calculated or understood by a data stream. No matter how many stats are collected or how powerful or exact the processor, there is still the matter of all those drated, irritating ‘emotions’ to deal with. Something humans have still barely learned how to manage after thousands of years of practice.  

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