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How Machine Learning Can Transform Online Dating

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the it-can-please-hurry-up-while-I'm-in-my-30s dept.

Stats 183

First time accepted submitter hrb1979 writes "Thought I'd share an interview with Kang Zhao — the professor behind the machine learning algorithm which could transform online dating. His algorithm takes into account both a user's tastes (in an approach similar to the Netflix recommendation engine) and their attractiveness (by analyzing how many responses they get) — enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches. His research was recently covered in both a Forbes' article and the MIT Technology Review, though this interview provides more depth and color."

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yuk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828581)

gnu online dating failed decades ago? who can forget the embarrassing AD campaigns like we were all ADDing in

kreme of the kode challlenge update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828645)

remember; submit the script that embeds a virtually invisible (or not) camera/mic. combo into the rendered web page of the suspected hobbyist whiner. prizes are that we are all our own reward free as in good spirits. free the innocent stem cells is not avoidable. never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to momkind our spiritual centerpeace & new clear option provider at healthcare.love. like spirit bugs we do not always see them......

drawn into lucky strike skin flint conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828857)

the shysterial tightwad connection is hard to overlook?

Not the algorithm we need (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#45828601)

All the algorithms in the world aren't going to help when the intersection of "people you'd care to date" and "people who'd care to date you" is empty. What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (4, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 6 months ago | (#45828653)

What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

Don't they already have that algorithm up and working here at Slashdot?

another chance to be narcystically self absorbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828701)

clothespin on the nose syntax

Re:Not the algorithm we need (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#45828705)

No kidding. I've known a few people who aren't exactly the best catches who refuse to date anybody who looks anything less than a supermodel.

If you're 80 pounds overweight, or a raging nerd, or whatever, and you refuse to date someone who isn't perfect ... you're going to be single and lonely for a long time.

I've known way too many people with their own defects (and who among us doesn't have them, especially here) who looked at potential partners and turned up their nose for stupid reasons -- a little overweight, wears glasses, curly hair.

Not saying you need to date the ugliest person you can find, but having a realistic expectation of what you might actually get goes a long way.

Don't be the Comic Book Guy saying "Oh, I've wasted my life" and passing up opportunities. If you're a 5, don't shoot for a 10.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (4, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#45828779)

I think the issue is that nobody is perfect. There is no single "ideal" person, male or female. Somebody who comes from a society with arranged marriages explained this to me, and why those relationships often end up working out better. Because both people going into it know that it is something they are going to have to work on, and that not everything about their relationship will be perfect. I'm not saying that arranged marriages are the right answer, but going into a relationship with the expectation that you'll have to work through difficulties can help a lot. So many people give up at the first sign of a problem. They want everything to come easy, be it with relationships, school, jobs, and any other aspect of life.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 6 months ago | (#45829401)

Nature vs. Nurture. At the end of the day, relationships may not last because people are just too different. While there's adaptability, the rate in which people culturally change slows as they get older. Also, the brain is hard-wired for certain predispositions. Sometimes the natural behavior of one person will never compliment that of another. In some cases, enough cultural change will be enough to offset that persons natural behavior. It really is a balance between nature vs. nurture that determines the overall compatibility between two people. Sometimes it works out, other times it does not; no matter how hard you try.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 6 months ago | (#45830151)

Sounds like "realistic expectations" to me. Another comment from a similar colleague: Arranged marriages (at the level his family expected) were more like business partnerships put together by VCs. The families and/or their agents/matchmakers were looking for good combinations who would not have met by chance - even if they went to the same school or trade show (if only because genders are carefully polite in their culture).

Re:Not the algorithm we need (4, Interesting)

Zibodiz (2160038) | about 6 months ago | (#45830155)

This. However, I will add something: Having similar goals and work ethic is important. I think, ultimately, people can work through almost any differences with a positive outcome, as long as their religion, work ethic, and life goals are similar. Pretty much the 'big picture' stuff. Of the girls I dated before marrying my wife, I can honestly say that I *could* have made it work with any of them, with the exception of those points. Religion is, frankly, flexible enough that it doesn't seem to need to be an exact fit unless one of the people involved is totally consumed by their religion; the two real important points, though, is whether the two people are going in the same direction.
One of my former girlfriends was extremely lazy. She wound up marrying a guy who fits her perfectly; a disabled vet (dare I call him that? He was in the Army for 1 year before being medically discharged, never got deployed), and they now live on welfare while neither of them works, instead spending their foodstamps on alcohol & cigarettes, and their time making babies.
Another girl I dated was headed through college with the goal of becoming a middle manager for a large corporation. I'm not sure where she is today, but last I knew, she was getting married to a guy who didn't really have a career goal; seems like a perfect fit to me, since it seems most middle managers need to relocate a few times.
Now, for contrast: My goals were to become self-employed and start a chain of electronic shops. Early on, that meant many 16+-hour-days with very little pay. I'm now past the really hard part of starting a business, and am well on my way to opening my second shop. The girl I am proud to call my wife is a perfect fit. She's a hard worker, her life goal was basically to spend as much time with family as possible, and she's good at seeing 'the big picture'; we've been married for almost 6 years now, and there's no question that we're a perfect match. When we first met, our interests, tastes in music, hobbies, food preferences, culture, families -- they were all pretty different. Of course, in the past decade or so, we've gradually become more alike, but ultimately it all really had no bearing on our happiness. The only thing that mattered was that we were going the same direction.
Also worth noting: we met on the Internet and became friends before we met in person or really got a good idea of what each other looked like. We didn't base our relationship on physical attraction, but rather on friendship.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (3, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#45828977)

Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything. One the other hand, people dating on looks may just get what they deserve.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#45829175)

I agree with you, but I've also known someone who is 100+ pounds overweight who outright refuses to date women who are also a little on the heavy side. It's hard not to think "have you really looked at yourself in a mirror?"

Some people just have completely unrealistic expectations about who they might potentially be able to date.

Me, I figure find someone you can get along with and have things in common with, and the rest is just details.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#45829637)

I think the problem is more that these people have a complete unrealistic self-image. For tech people, you can observe that regularly in forums: The ones claiming the highest authority are typically somewhere from clueless to mediocre. I think this is the same effect at work. On the plus side, this means far less likelihood of these idiots reproducing, so I do not believe "fixing" this is desirable.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#45830425)

Huh? Of course if you're heavy you are looking for a slim counterpart. You don't want your offspring to be super-heavy, right?

Re:Not the algorithm we need (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829355)

Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything.

There's a big difference between only dating supermodels and refusing to date someone who's extremely unattractive (for instance, morbidly obese). A lot of men avoid overly-attractive women as they assume they're "high maintenance", and look for women in the next tier down (the "girl next door" type); they want someone who's attractive, but not so beautiful that they're going to be a PITA and have those neuroses you talk of (and demand he spend all kinds of money on her so she can have weekly spa treatments, ridiculously expensive designer clothes, etc.). This doesn't mean they're willing to date a woman who's 300 pounds.

Looks are important: if you're not at all physically attracted to someone, you're not going to have an easy time maintaining a romantic relationship with them. For men, you may have serious problems "getting it up" if you don't find the woman at least somewhat attractive.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#45829671)

You are talking about criteria for an one-night-stand, not for a relationship or for founding a family. Maybe that is the reason so few relationships keep these days: Wrong selection criteria.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 6 months ago | (#45830073)

Attraction is still a criteria. Otherwise, sex isn't getting involved since some of us aren't whoring out for farces like "family" or a "relationship" for the sake of saying you've got a "relationship". That's a fuck up situation where you put up with someone you don't want to play house...

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#45830423)

Looks are pretty much unimportant, or rather if you are halfway sane you do not want to date anybody looking like a "supermodel". It either comes with neuroses or a huge ego not justified by anything. One the other hand, people dating on looks may just get what they deserve.

Err, I dunno. Like the old saying goes:

Beauty is skin deep

Ugly is to the bone

Beauty always fades away

But ugly holds it own....

:)

But on a serious note...attractions begins, especially with men...visually.

You never walk into a bar and look around and say "Wow, I gotta meet that woman over there, I'll bet she has the best personality!!".

No, you look around and see the ones that are good looking and fit your image of a good looking chick, and go chat her up.

Sure, if you want something to be a longer lasting relationship, you do have to get to know them and be compatible, but that's not the first thing you look at when hunting a mate.

And also, if you're in it for the long term...are you going to be happy fucking someone that isn't attractive to you? Are you going to be happy being naked with her for long term...and not be wanting to stray outside that relationship for someone better looking?

Looks does matter. It isn't everything, but it is a LARGE thing in a relationship.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#45829393)

I don't think you got it right. There are people who are not much into dating at all, and while they might not say no to a supermodel, most other people to them are just not worth the hassle. They don't put much effort into dating at all, and if they refuse a date, it's not because they think they could do better, it's because they simply aren't interested. Not everyone boosts their self-esteem by trying to score as many dates as possible.

I for once never was much into dating at all, and I don't think I ever made a big effort into courtship. I'm married now, and I have two children, but the proposal was some way that has nothing to do with romance or even with a diamond ring (as I am not an U.S. american, diamond rings are out of question anyway). When my then-future wife was renting a van, we noticed in the contract conditions that family members with a driving license were allowed to drive the rental van too, and because a bride or groom count as family, we decided to call this a proposal and share the driving.

Yes, there are people who overestimate themselves and are thus unsuccessful at dating, but I don't think this happens very often or for a longer time. If the need arises, most people adjust their expectations automatically. Often they have some acquaintances anyway they hang around with, and then a date just happens, and later on both will tell everyone that the mate they found was not what they initially searched for, but proved to be a perfect match anyway.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#45829565)

since it's slashdot, here is a very sensible algorithm for dating...

take a hard honest look at yourself and all your pluses and minus, and rank yourself 1 to 10. its important to be realistic...

now, give yourself a range of +1.5 to -1.5 and only go after others who fall in that range.

so for example, if your a 7, your range should be 5.5 to 8.5...

it really isn't the dumbest thing ever.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#45829947)

Actually, it's not so easy, as a 1..10 scale is not really covering anything. I would for instance have a problem dating a devout, pious woman, though she might be attractive by most other criteria. On the other hand, if she appears bookish and has excellent verbal skills (or even be bilingual), I could be very interested. For some reason I seem to fall for some quirks in the personality of people. I am really bad at estimating other people's intelligence, but I like it if they appear to think strategically or be at least very tenacious at the things they are working to achieve. Try to express that in a 1..10 scale!

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 6 months ago | (#45830341)

That doesn't actually work on humans. I'm not homosexual, so self-rating's not possible, and my libido's not anyone else's as their's isn't either. I'm rarely attracted to supposed 9's and 10's of others. As a rule, someone says "hot". I probably don't find her attractive. The one's I find adorable don't usually score that high on most other gynophiles ratings. Besides, anything less than strong attraction fizzles. Compatibility isn't a factor without attraction, so there's not else to speak of.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830047)

You don't have to date anyone.

You can be perfectly happy alone - and being alone is much better than being in a bad relationship.

I am one of those with unrealistic expectations. It is not about being a perfect 10, but having a university degree and a steady income really does it for me.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#45830519)

No kidding. I've known a few people who aren't exactly the best catches who refuse to date anybody who looks anything less than a supermodel.

If you're 80 pounds overweight, or a raging nerd, or whatever, and you refuse to date someone who isn't perfect ... you're going to be single and lonely for a long time.

I've known way too many people with their own defects (and who among us doesn't have them, especially here) who looked at potential partners and turned up their nose for stupid reasons -- a little overweight, wears glasses, curly hair.

Depends. If you're a guy who knows how to talk to women, and has a pretty good 'game', you can definitely date and bed women that most would think were "outside of your league", and no, you don't have to be wealthy.

You see it all the time, large guys, not that ugly...with hot women. I even occasionally see and have known, some really good looking guys, that were almost model like on the outside, but were too shy and didn't know how to talk to women.

Thankfully...women aren't quite as visually oriented as we guys are, but you do have to be able to speak to them in a confident manner, and be able to read their signs and push the right buttons, and talk about things THEY will respond to. Sure, most of the time it is bullshit, but you say what they want/need to hear, and you can bag them. If you like them for more than a bit of sex a few times, you can dig into a deeper relationship, but even then, you need to learn, know and use a bit of knowledge on human female behavior.

Some guys have the gift naturally, but most of us don't...self included.

But it can be learned and it isn't that hard. First thing, get over being afraid to talk to women...ANY woman. Go try to hit on the best looking woman, but know how to do it. And hey, sometime it doesn't work...play the numbers, women are a dime a dozen and go after the next one, etc.

Practice, practice, practice...any time I'm out during the day and I see an attractive young lady...I will at bare minimum strike up some sort of casual conversation, you never know where it will end up...her or maybe a friend of hers...etc.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828721)

My kinkyness is NaN !

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828813)

You start high and then gradually lower your expectations until you hit a jackpot. Works for everyone so far.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 6 months ago | (#45830363)

Jackpot or jackshit?

Re:Not the algorithm we need (3, Insightful)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 6 months ago | (#45828849)

What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

Someone already wrote that in Perl. It's called Craigslist.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

gregski (765387) | about 6 months ago | (#45828867)

this is exactly the problem this algorithm attempts to solve:

"They also analyze the replies you receive and use this to evaluate your attractiveness (or unattractiveness). Obviously boys and girls who receive more replies are more attractive. When it takes this into account, it can recommend potential dates who not only match your taste but ones who are more likely to think you attractive and therefore to reply. "The model considers a user's "taste" in picking others and "attractiveness" in being picked by others," they say. "

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830177)

I wonder if I say the wrong things. This site told me I was among the most attractive users (I feel confident I'm a 7 or so, but I was an ugly duckling as a kid) but still I don't get responses about 95% of the time. It doesn't matter if I send a witty sentence or a 3-line one about their profile.

Meanwhile 99% of the girls who contact me I have no interest in. I say flat out what I like and what I don't like and generally the girls loaded with things I don't like are the ones who contact me.. wtf

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Alopex (1973486) | about 6 months ago | (#45828899)

Some people would rather be single than date someone who is considered an even match, which is a perfectly fair decision. Also, consider hypergamy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergamy), which is already quite common.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828937)

So, you're some kind of an eugenics expert who knows who should date whom?

Yeah, but that's not always the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829019)

While I think you are saying some truth, I don't think it's the whole story. Being interesting, attractive or hot are always subjective measurements. If your high school's cheerleaders don't find you attractive does not mean you are not attractive. Why does their opinion worth more than what the rest of girls may think?

Most of the time it just turns out that we are trying to intersect with sets of people who are unlikely to find us interesting. If I hate sport, it just doesn't make sense to go to a website which links sports fans. If I hate fashion, I should not try to hit on girls spending 6 hours a day reading the latest trends. But that doesn't make me unattractive or boring. To me, those sports fans or fashion girls are boring and unattractive too, but there certainly are people who will find them exciting and interesting. It's all a matter of perspective.

In the end, I think all boils down to two things: attitude and luck. Be positive, and sooner or later, you'll be in the right place at the right moment.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 6 months ago | (#45829101)

What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations because they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

FTFY. Nobody is a supermodel, or terribly interesting.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 6 months ago | (#45829151)

an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations

I suspect that's exactly what his algorithm does.

enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches

Re:Not the algorithm we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829235)

its not zero though. humans don't work on tiers. what you probably would get is compatibility grades with stepping levels, A is perfect, B is pretty good, C is adequate, D is I would rather not if I have a choice, and F is its this or celibacy.

A would be a very small pool (even if you are an open person), with the pool gradually getting bigger.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about 6 months ago | (#45829975)

There's a name for that. Bell curve I think.

Re:Not the algorithm we need (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829289)

What we need is an algorithm to convince people to lower their expectations when they're unattractive, boring, unmannerly, old, poor and/or cheap, have baggage, etc.

The problem here is that there's no way for an algorithm to know these things about someone. No one puts on their online dating profile, "I'm a cheap-ass, I have terrible manners, and I still have issues about my ex-wife even though we divorced 15 years ago." They only put the good parts. They even dress up the photos, like showing only their face in particular artful poses if they're obese, so you can't easily tell that from the photos.

Dupe (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828619)

His research was recently covered in both a Forbes' article and the MIT Technology Review

It was also recently covered on Slasdot [slashdot.org] .

Profiles Not Everything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828627)

This doesn't take into account chemistry, which is where feeling love comes from. If you want the logical mate, then sure you can probably create something like this. If you want a real match, you'll also need to send in hormones and blood samples for testing. It would probably also help if people didn't lie so much online.

GIGO (0)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#45828643)

Garbage In Garbage Out.

Who writes honest truth in the online dating profile? It is all about posturing and posing.

Re:GIGO (1)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#45828815)

For people downvoting above - the reason you are still single is because you have unrealistically high opinion of your own charm, attractiveness, generosity, and achievements. Relationships are about getting along and building trust, not about putting yourself on a pedestal with a puffed-up profile. Unlike job interviews, it hurts relationships to over-sell yourself by introducing inevitable disappointment and distrust at the very early stages of it.

Re:GIGO (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#45828935)

> the reason you are still single is because you have unrealistically high opinion of your own charm

As opposed to " the reason you are still single is because you don't try"? Arrogance, which is what you're describing, can actually help. It can provide the confidence to actually ask out potential dates, to believe that you're worth spending time with, and get you past failures. Never trying is guaranteed failure, and it's too common.

Re:GIGO (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829415)

Totally wrong. Arrogance and lying actually work really well for many men. Those men get laid a lot more than the honest and humble men. You can debate whether it's worth it in the long term or not (he might be stuck with multiple child-support payments in his 40s), but it is a winning reproductive and dating strategy.

Re:GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829579)

Arrogance and lying actually work really well for many men.

Works really well for both genders. Each gender just tells different lies to each other, whatever the other gender likes to hear

"Baby you're the only one for me"

"You're the greatest I ever had"

"You're my first time"

"I don't love you for your money"

"It's your baby"

etc.

Re:GIGO (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#45829619)

+1 spot on

Re:GIGO (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 6 months ago | (#45830241)

This reminds me of the old story about college roommates going to a party. The guy who drove immediately walks up to a babe and whispers in her ear, and gets slapped. Walks up to another, gets slapped again. The other guy shakes his head and goes to get a beer and find a conversation. Later, having gotten nowhere and wondering about his ride home, he looks for the first guy and can't find him anywhere. Finally the driver reappears with a smile on his face, and in no mood to leave. "Why not? Aren't you getting slapped a lot?" "Yes, but I'm getting laid a lot, too."

Dating Algorithm Corollary (-1, Troll)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#45828659)

Single people will generally settle for a mate with the highest level of superficial physical characteristics they can achieve.

This is true even though a homely spouse makes for a much more attentive husband/wife.

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (1)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#45828699)

This is where evolution backfired. It used to be the case that physical characteristics highly correlated with reproductive success, so we are hard-wired to look for them. Sometimes this takes strange detours into fetishes-obsessions, but most of the time we just looking for "good looking".

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#45828805)

This is true even though a homely spouse makes for a much more attentive husband/wife.

Do they? Ugly people are just as capable of obnoxious behaviour as attractive ones.

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (2)

Alopex (1973486) | about 6 months ago | (#45828951)

I think there is some truth to this. I seldom see drop-dead gorgeous female engineers or scientists. On the other hand, female cheerleaders make me cringe and despair. You don't think there is a strong correlation between attractiveness and personal qualities/careers/etc.?

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#45829155)

I seldom see drop-dead gorgeous female engineers or scientists....You don't think there is a strong correlation between attractiveness and personal qualities/careers/etc.?

Let us say that intelligence and attractiveness are uncorrelated.

The probability of being both at once is very low, since you're multiplying the two small independent probabilities associated with attractiveness and intelligence.

If, of course you chose any segment of the population not selected specifically for attractiveness, then the probability of any given member being attractive is low.

Drop-dead gorgeous female scientists and engineers are particularly rare because (a) female scientists and enigneers are rare and (b) drop-dead gorgeousness is rare. Even uncorrelated if you multiply those tow probabilities, a small number results.

If you have something where members are chosen for attractiveness then yes, the average member will be more attractive than the average.

Would I say that my fellow scientists and engineers are on average less attractive than a random sampling of the population? That's a hard call. There are whole segments of the population that I rarely mix with which makes such things hard to judge. I never have cause to visit grim, deprived, crime ridden former mining towns of the North for example. But I haven't noticed any particular difference. There's one guy in my office you could easily tell from the outside (long hair, overweight and wearing anime t-shirts is kind of a give away). The rest not so much.

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829443)

I seldom see drop-dead gorgeous female engineers or scientists.

That's because smart and gorgeous women know that those professions are underpaid and undervalued in Western (particularly American) society, so they avoid them (they also want to avoid all the sexual harassment). Instead, these women go into the medical field. I've met several nearly drop-dead gorgeous female physicians. And they certainly get better pay and better job security than I do as an engineer, while not being surrounded by creepy men or brogrammers.

Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829503)

Ugly people are just as capable of obnoxious behaviour as attractive ones

True statement. But attractive people (especially women with large breasts) tend to be conditioned by society to think that they are more desirable and hence that they are entitled to be more demanding. Same with guys who are good athletes or have lots of money.

If you want to be Happy (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 6 months ago | (#45829659)

This is true even though a homely spouse makes for a much more attentive husband/wife.

Jimmy Soul - If You Want To Be Happy (1963) [youtube.com]

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Re:If you want to be Happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830383)

I was about to post this but you beat me to it :-)

Not for me (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 6 months ago | (#45828661)

Somehow I get the feeling that I won't have any success with this. I'm a typical Slashdot user.

Caste system based on hotness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828689)

If the algorhythm is based on "attractiveness" won't that lead to the beautiful only being paired with their like? Will uglies only be paired together? Could he have chosen a worse metric to use? I think not. Bad idea on so many levels.

self-responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828697)

I bet "loves to travel" and "loves having fun" have zero predictive power.

I prefer this formula; it's more honest (5, Funny)

tekrat (242117) | about 6 months ago | (#45828713)

The perfect formula for matchmaking:

Males: Enter income.
Females: Enter attractiveness.

Match up most attractive to highest earners.

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828955)

You forgot height, since every woman online has a binary filter rating anyone under 6' unacceptable.

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829285)

same goes for men as many find any woman over 5 8 unacceptable.

Me I like some tall ladies.
some short women may want a man that is also fun sized, if only because they don't want a ladder to kiss their man, and don't want them to do the arms length hold away thing (I find this hilarious)

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829077)

Perfect for who?

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 6 months ago | (#45829907)

Males: Enter income and Insanity Level Limit.
Females: Enter attractiveness and Insanity Level.

I went ahead and fixed that for ya.

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830445)

Males: Enter Height Level, Income Level, Attractiveness Level Limit, Insanity Level Limit, and Max Date Travel Distance.

Females: Enter Attractiveness Level, Insanity Level, Height Level Limit, Income Level Limit, and Max Date Travel Distance.

You can then not only match on the binary limits, but also do statistical matching.
You can show a graph of how many more people would want to date them if they relaxed any given constraint or combination of constraints.

Re:I prefer this formula; it's more honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830113)

And while I honestly do not embellish my income nor my resume, I hear most people do. And when it comes to females, they definitely overrate their attractiveness. I was on one site where a handful girls who I literally would not rate beyond a 5-7 all thought they were 10s. But at the same time, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, as girls I'd consider 6s would be considered 10s by some guys, and girls I'd consider 10s would be 6s to other guys.

that's it, Mankind is extinct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828767)

Talk about a double-whammy, first internet pr0n sets incredibly unrealistic expectations while magnifying every miniscule niche fetish into a lifestyle, now skynet wants to take over eugenic selection.

Professor Frink says (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#45828773)

Frink: Well, theoretically, yes. But the computer matches would be so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest. Mw-hurgn-whey.

Would be nice if it works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828793)

Tired of getting messaged exclusively by single moms and financially/emotionally unstable ladies on OKStupid.

Re:Would be nice if it works. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829559)

There's a couple of problems here. 1) OKC doesn't have any way of blocking or filtering out people with kids, which apparently you're not open to (which is fine, it's a valid choice as a single man, esp. if you're younger; it gets unrealistic as you get older). From what I've seen, they only let you block people's messages if they're too far away from you. It'd be nice if there were more controls this way to block out people with deal-breakers (smoking, etc.) 2) There's no way for OKC to tell if someone is financially/emotionally unstable that I can think of. I don't even know how you would tell this about someone before meeting them in person and getting to know them, unless they're brazenly hitting you up for money when they first message you.

Learn to lie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828795)

Kind of like job interviews. It's not that hard, really: if they don't like you after you're in the door, you've still gotten out of your mom's basement for a day and had a chance to steal some pens. It also gets you a chance to talk to the people who actually *work* at the company, who know what department actually needs your real job skills. Same with "si8ngles" dating. Even if the "single" is a real brown bagger, she may have friends who are interesting to meet and will "rescue" their friend by distracting you.

Nothing gets them wanting to go out like seeing that their friend is out with you. Think I'm kidding? Just watch them at a good party.

Dating Sites (3, Informative)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#45828839)

Being recently divorced (last year), I started poking around at the various dating sites. Let's see, I don't smoke, I effectively don't drink alcohol (one beer a year doesn't make me a "drinker"), I'm a gamer (you'd be amazed at the number of women who think gamers are "childish"), and I'm not into sports (lots of women who go to football/baseball/hockey games). I do like going hiking in the mountains, snowshoes, skiing, I like bicycling. But I'm not a fitness fanatic which also eliminated quite a few women. I'm not religious which eliminated a few more.

After eliminating the mis-matches, I started paring down the other issues. Based on profiles, I got down to about 60 women in the area who might be an match based on shared interests. I received no replies to my e-mails but I did receive three unrelated emails. One from a women in Australia. One from a woman in Texas who had pictures of her daughter leaning on a car (which was a bit creepy). And one from a woman who plays guitars who appeared to be looking for a man in every city.

Amusingly on my birthday (hit 56), my match list dropped to zero. Every one of the women were looking for guys 55 or younger. So I expanded my search until I got to a couple of women in a 250 mile radius.

For some of us (a small percentage I suppose), the dating sites really aren't helping. And since women receive all the emails, they have the choice of who to go out with.

Humorously I was chosen to moderate pictures on okcupid for a bit. The guys do send some very suggestive emails (and some not so suggestive!).

[John]

Re:Dating Sites (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 6 months ago | (#45829143)

Sorry to hear that. Being alone sucks, it's as simple as that. The best thing that you can do is act like you have a shit-ton of money (somehow) and more than likely, you'll get some 20-something-yo chick.

Happiness is something that's you can achieve however, and it has nothing to do with other people. Best of luck either way.

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#45830249)

Actually I'm pretty satisfied with where my life is right now. I hadn't intended on hitting the dating sites but was curious as that's where I met my ex back in '99. And honestly being alone is actually pretty good. I can sit at home and read a book without feeling guilty about not _doing_something_. Plus I've done a lot of work around the house and yard that were off limits in the past.

So really, I'm good right now. And I think that's what's important. Being good with yourself and eventually (or not) the right person will come along.

[John]

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829653)

Being recently divorced (last year), I started poking around at the various dating sites. Let's see, I don't smoke, I effectively don't drink alcohol (one beer a year doesn't make me a "drinker"), I'm a gamer (you'd be amazed at the number of women who think gamers are "childish"), and I'm not into sports (lots of women who go to football/baseball/hockey games). I do like going hiking in the mountains, snowshoes, skiing, I like bicycling. But I'm not a fitness fanatic which also eliminated quite a few women. I'm not religious which eliminated a few more.

Some of this stuff varies a lot by region (or proximity to a major city), but I hear you. I'm the same way on much of it (except the gaming part, and I do drink a half-glass of wine now and then, though again nothing approaching drunkenness, so not much of a "drinker"), and I've always found it difficult to meet women and to keep them interested. There do seem to be an absurd number of women interested in sports online from what I've seen, and sometimes I wonder if they say that just to attract men who like sports. And yes, lots of women seem to be very religious, much moreso than men. I've heard before of churches where single women outnumber single men 10-to-1, with the single men being weirdos with handlebar mustaches, and the preacher telling the single women not to date outside that church or else they're "unequally yoked".

Amusingly on my birthday (hit 56),

This is probably part of your problem. I hate to say it, but you're too old for online dating: women in your age group aren't very internet-savvy, unlike the 20- and 30-somethings. The women you'd be interested in might use Facebook to keep up with their kids and grandkids, but that's about it.

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 months ago | (#45829809)

This is probably part of your problem. I hate to say it, but you're too old for online dating: women in your age group aren't very internet-savvy,

Bingo. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but they haven't been there long.

On the plus side for the OP, the older you get, the more the female:male ratio goes up in the real world.

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#45830291)

I figured the women who like sports and dogs (where are all the cat girls :D ) are doing so to attract guys. I grew up with cats and have a bit of anxiety around dogs, mostly from a pretty good scare when I was a kid.

Yea, I came to the age conclusion too. I don't know how to "act my age". Much of what I find enjoyable is associated with the younger crowd. Heck, quite a few folks seem honestly surprised when they discover my age and estimate it at 10 years younger.

Clean living :)

[John]

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45829945)

Actually, I just thought of something for you: have you tried Meetup.com? Around my area, there's tons of hiking/outdoor groups on Meetup, and a lot of people (of all ages) seem to use these hiking groups as singles mixers. You don't have to be single to go on hikes, but a lot of the people I meet on there seem to be. I've met lots of older (50+) women on the hikes I've been on.

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#45830325)

I actually have considered it. I'm a co-organizer for probably the biggest gaming Meetup site in our area (almost 900 members :) ). So I'm familiar with meetup.com. One of my friends is a member of one of the sites. I think part of that problem is they are _hiking_ meetups and not 'strolling' meetups. While I do like to hike. I'm not good with 20 milers :) I am checking out the others though to see if there's a less strenuous one.

[John]

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 months ago | (#45830441)

No, if you want to meet single women, you have to find the "beginner's" or less-strenuous hikes. You're probably not going to meet many women at the advanced, technical hikes. I don't like the 20-milers either; 5 miles is good for me, 10 is the absolute max. People don't go on the fast-paced hikes to chit-chat and meet people. Just join all the hiking (or general outdoors) meetups in your area, and ignore the hikes that say "no beginners", "fast paced, no sweeper", "advanced", have a huge elevation change, etc. Here in NJ, there's a bunch of groups that are "hiking" groups but don't do anything very strenuous.

Dating sites and age.... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 6 months ago | (#45829957)

I'm in my 40's and married, but back when I tried seriously using a few of the dating sites (never was willing to pay for the commercial ones, but gave sites like PoF and OKCupid a shot) -- I ran across a general theme for the individual who'd find the most success there. Basically, the formula seemed to be:

1. Into sports
2. Posted at least one sexy/arousing type photo instead of only head-shots
3. Somewhere in the "under 35" age range
4. Liked to "go out for a few beers/drinks" (but not "drink heavily", of course)
5. Claimed to have some type of job people perceived as "successful"
6. Those under 25 who bragged about "420 friendliness" (marijuana) seemed to do well with others in that age range.

Older people definitely tend to be the "outliers" on these sites -- with relatively few peers using them for dating. Worse yet, I think some of the 50 and 60 somethings use them to troll for much younger dates, sometimes even lying about their age to get the first in-person meetup.

I tried to be pretty honest about exactly what my interests were (and weren't), but found that didn't get me many initial contacts. I think just as in "real life", there's still sort of an expectation that the man is supposed to make the first move. Women will put a profile out there and just let the emails rolls in. Men put one out there and it gets viewed a number of times, but winds up only serving the purpose of getting reviewed closely if he contacts a woman first and she's trying to decide if she wants to write him back or not.

I'll tell you another thing that might be worth doing, if you want a "reality check" about your level of physical attractiveness to the opposite sex. Find a couple of photos of yourself you feel represent you well/accurately and post them on one of those "Hot or Not?" sites. Come back a few weeks later and see what your average rating was. I did this once, and frankly, it was pretty brutal. I wound up ranked about a 3 out of 10 -- despite being a guy I'm somewhat regularly told is "fairly attractive". I tried to analyze it, and discovered a few things -- like much younger women rating me really low, simply because I was "too old for them". But at the end of the day, I think it's important to realize that a lot of people using these dating sites will be clicking through guys' photos and profiles with this same mindset. "Ick... he's wearing an ugly shirt! Next!" "Looks like he could be my dad or something. Ugly! Next!" So without letting it shred your ego, I think it does provide some perspective at least -- when you get mad that "There are 1,000 women on this site right now and not ONE wants to write me back!?!"

Re:Dating Sites (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 6 months ago | (#45829995)

Hmm. OK, try this: - Go easy on the "I'm a gamer" thing. Women of a certain age will rarely "get it", so you can mention it in passing on your profile, but wait until you meet to fully divulge. - New hobby! I highly recommend yoga, not only for the exercise, but the m/f ratio is always going to be in your favor. - One thing that I discovered is that women really appreciate a guy who can hold a conversation and be interesting, interested, and not a jerk. Apparently this is not so common. So... try ToastMasters or something. "Girls want guys with skills.." - Napolean Dynamite Most importantly, don't give up if it's important to you. Try new things that bring you in contact with people you may want to meet. Volunteer. Start a band! Anyway, good luck, d

Re:Dating Sites (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#45830389)

I don't think I was over the top with the gamer thing. What I did was check out the questions and answers on okcupid. One of the questions was about gaming and if the answer was "childish", I clicked the 'not interested' filter. Since gaming (board gaming, role playing, miniatures (not warhammer though), and cards (not Magic/etc)) is probably the defining thing in my life, it pretty much becomes the gatekeeper to asking someone out. If gaming is 'Childish', then we'll do nothing but argue about the number of games and how much time I spend gaming. I had that with my Ex and really do not want to repeat that.

The band comment was interesting as I've been learning to play guitar and bass for the past 3 years and the guys at work have come over a few times to play. So perhaps I can attract a few groupies :)

[John]

Re:Dating Sites (1)

floodo1 (246910) | about 6 months ago | (#45830505)

Network. It's the only way to get anywhere in life, other than luck.

Re:Dating Sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830265)

There is a method for creating profiles, as Tom Haverford explains in this short clip from Parks and Rec --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nba_gI1xBH8 [youtube.com]

Just pull a Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828883)

Ask them *all* out. Last I checked, Richard M. Stallman was still using the "try them all, and any that work, whoopee" method. My trans-sexual friend considered it her trial by fire when Richard Stallman hit on her. And brother, if it works for *Richard*, it can work for anybody!!!!

Mind you, I observed him doing this from 1981-2001. He may have shifted tactics in the last decade.....

Solving the wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828889)

The problem with online dating from a woman's perspective doesn't seem to be in finding matches, it is in trying to develop a relationship in the face of all the other potential matches that are one-click away for the man. A better matching algorithm will not help with this.

The perfect formula for matchmaking: Men just have to say, "I want to have kids" to be flooded with responses.

Re:Solving the wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829591)

Men who like baby goats are attractive to women? Do you live in West Virginia?

Here's the real Dating Algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45828963)

Women: Are you attractive?
Men: Are you rich?

Obligatory Sneakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829001)

"I don't believe that a computer matched you up..."

Many uses (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 months ago | (#45829193)

"His algorithm takes into account both a user's tastes (in an approach similar to the Netflix recommendation engine) and their attractiveness (by analyzing how many responses they get) — enabling the machine to 'learn' and hence propose higher potential matches."

I'd send them a hiring offer for a Photoshop Job, but that's just me.

Holy shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829271)

I officially stand no chance anymore.
captcha: bookworm

Could be helpful (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 6 months ago | (#45829375)

So, in other words, the machine will tell you, "Hey dude, you might as well talk to this homely girl, because we've analyzed your interests and your apparent attractiveness and you're not going to do any better than this".

Not enough science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829387)

"Yeah that's been your dating problem -- not enough science" - Roz Doyle

Peri Gilpen is mai waifu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829469)

n/t

Hello, miss. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#45829629)

That's a nice ${ANATOMICAL_PART} you've got there.

So here comes the SEO-like rush for attractiveness (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 6 months ago | (#45829731)

I'm guessing that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques would come into play whereby geeks could artificially inflate their relevance/attractiveness to game the system. Once again the nerds get the supermodels... right?

Where does input data come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45829737)

Does input data to this so-called transformational algorithm come from online dating sites? If so, it's self-selecting from a questionable population, since these are people who have trouble with regular dating in the first place. Would there be much statistical difference between this transformational algorithm and matching up pairs from this population totally at random? What's the control group that determines that this algorithm is better (or worse)?

I don't care about dating, but I care about the bogus statistics.

Netflix nor any others ever get it right either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45830031)

And if they can't accurately predict you what movies you will like or dislike, there's no way they'd be able to predict you who you'd date or not.

captcha: predict

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