Tuesday, September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023

Imagining a future where phone apps date too

It’s only a matter of time. What with artificial intelligence, robotics, apps, platforms, social media, facial recognition, neural networks and a host of other systems that have been blended together to make up the omnipresent and pervasive smart phone of today, it won’t be long before somebody is going to have to find a way for all these specialized technologies to get along with each other on the same device.

What we are proposing here is an online service for computer apps and hardware to make sure that all the digital spirits that inhabit your smart phone are compatible with each other. What we want is for your smart phone to be happy and for all the programs to coexist in social networking harmony. The last thing you would like to see happen is for Siri to tell your GPS finder that she’s not talking to him anymore because the last time she asked for directions to Whistler you all ended up in South Surrey.

How do we go about making this a reality? The solution is as simple as it is brilliant. The apps on your phone will mesh perfectly and seamlessly if they are allowed to get to know one another and feel comfortable in each other’s presence. This can be achieved in the identical way that humans accomplish the very same objective: online dating.

That’s right. Your apps and various smart devices will have a much better chance of feeling good about a potential match if they develop a deep-seated trust in each other. As everybody who has tried to connect or “hook up” with a potential life (or single-night) partner in the last 20 years has learned, this trust can often be achieved by exchanging profiles through the online dating service that best represents a particular demographic. Any other form of direct contact, such as striking up conversations with total strangers in bars, cafes and jail cells, will merely result in wasted time and effort on total loser jerks.

Of course, online dating can be a slippery slope. Just like human computer dating, there’s no way of knowing whether profile photographs have been touched up, airbrushed or even completely altered to make your “perfect match” appear much better than they are to the naked eye. Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman may actually look more like Pee Wee Herman or Phyllis Diller. In the world of apps, a turn-of-the-millennium Motorola flip phone may stretch the truth by claiming to be a cutting-edge iPhone XS Max.

Likewise, human profiles are often enhanced on online dating sites to improve the chances of getting selected. If you believe what you read on your screen, just about everybody has a terrific sense of humour, loves to go for moonlit walks along a deserted beach, and is an expert at both Texas line dancing and Argentinian tango. Unfortunately, the shameless truth is more likely to reveal someone who believes WWE wrestling is not fake, walks only far enough to pick up the TV remote, and whose idea of romantic dancing is doing the funky chicken.

Apps signing into the online dating site must also be wary of wholesale exaggerations and downright lies when searching for compatible networking partners. Beware of app and hardware profiles that draw attention to their vast gigabyte capacity (size isn’t everything), processor speed (it’s not how fast you get there but how good a time you have getting there), extolling the virtues of virtual over real memory (once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back), and especially idyllic hobbies and pastimes such as “loves to spend romantic evenings downloading hundreds of Netflix seasons series.”

How do your apps choose which dating sites would be best suited for their particular needs? There are dozens and dozens of them out there in the ether, so what parameters should you consider before enrolling your device in such a personal information hub? As many of you readers who have or are currently playing the dating game have discovered for yourselves, some sites have more activity than others and cater better to the social niche to which you belong. Seniors, for instance, can try SilverSingles, EliteSingles or Match.com. If you are looking for a gay relationship, OKCupid, Zoosk and OurTime.com may fit the bill. Overweight and vertically challenged (i.e. short) males can gravitate towards ShortPassions or ShortPeopleClub, while tall females may want to register with TallConnections or SkysTheLimit.

Your apps will have to make similar choices in order to optimize their chances for long-term networking relationships with other apps on your smart phone or other devices. How will the previously mentioned GPS app coordinate with the restaurant finder, UrbanSpoon? When accounts have to be settled, will PayPal foot the eTransfer payment? Perhaps somebody should create an online dating site that matches your baby monitor with your singing doorbell app so you can see who is at your door and lullaby your toddler to sleep at the same time.

Maybe your apps aren’t looking for long-term relationships at all. At the rate with which these things work, a lasting interconnection between willing devices could endure for only a fraction of a nanosecond (a billionth of a second, give or take the time it takes for a hummingbird to blink). This is approximately the same amount of time it takes for a new smart phone owner to feel their device has become outmoded and starts shopping for the latest model.

Nobody asked me, but it looks like online dating isn’t going away any time soon. Like it or not, whether we are searching through updated profiles for ourselves or for those disembodied apps who live inside our smart phones, we should come to grips with the fact that the next time we hear a ring tone on our device, it might have nothing to do with us, but instead just be a “happy face” emoticon sent from our Bluetooth to the ever popular and available Siri.


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