Would you let AI date for you? Bumble’s founder thinks that could be the future


Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd has suggested, in the not-too-distant future, online daters could have ‘AI concierges’ that ‘date’ each other to find the best possible matches.
AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 09: Founder and CEO of Bumble Whitney Wolfe attends Bumble Presents: Empowering Connections at Fair Market on March 9, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Bumble)

At the Bloomberg Tech conference last week, Bumble founder Whitney revealed how Generative AI could be about to change the dating game.

So how would it work?

Dating app users would be assigned personal AI “dating concierges”, who would then date hundreds of other users’ AI concierges to determine compatibility, and who may be worth meeting in person.

In short, your AI will sit through all those awkward first dates, so you won’t have to.

“There is a world where your dating concierge could go and date for you with other dating concierges”, Wolfe Herd told the Bloomberg Tech conference. “And then you don’t have to talk to 600 people and it will scan all of San Francisco for you and say ‘these are the three people you really ought to meet’.”

Although Wolfe Herd made headlines last year when she stepped down from her position as CEO, she remains the executive chair of the dating platform. She says she is “actively involved in a very exciting, kind of behind-the-scenes focus on what comes next.”

And while it was her claims about a future where AI takes the grunt work out of online dating, the 34-year-old also detailed other ways artificial intelligence might be utilised by apps like Bumble.

“You could, in the near future, be talking to your AI dating concierge, and you could share your insecurities,” Wolfe Herd said. “It could help you train yourself into a better way of thinking about yourself.”

“I think there is something really powerful about the technology we’re building to connect us; Go online to get offline.”

She told the conference that Bumble’s focus with AI is “to create more healthy, equitable relationships. And that also starts with yourself.”

Bumble has been utilising machine learning for years now, and tech start-ups like ‘Rizz’ and ‘YourMoveAI’ were designed to optimise profiles and come up with cute one-liners, all aimed at making online dating easier. But the world proposed by Wolfe Herd at Bloomberg Tech would represent a serious next step in the use of generative AI in dating apps.

The proposition has prompted considerable public reaction and discussion, with some comparing the idea to an episode of the hit dystopian show ‘Black Mirror’.

The latest comments come amid a turbulent era for dating apps including Bumble, which now trades for just over $US11 a share – a fraction of its post pandemic price in 2021.

In 2021, Match Group Inc, the parent company of both Tinder and Hinge, was trading at $US169. Its share price has now fallen to around $US30.

Whether a radical embrace of generative AI will save these apps from their dwindling popularity remains to be seen – although Wolfe Herd remains optimistic.

“We are going to lean in fast and furiously. We already have,” She told the audience at Bloomberg Tech.

“We are going to win. We will be the way people meet.”

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