Love 2.0

Algorithms do not love make….

Yes, yes – we all know the advertised stories of all the happy couples brought together by digital dating services through the magic of advanced algorithms.

But hear out Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University. As quoted by The New York Times on Easter Sunday, Professor Finkel had this to say:

“Technology is not the way to figure out who is compatible and who will never be.  At the end of the day, the human algorithm – neural tissue in our cranium called a brain – has evolved over a long period of time to size up people efficiently. On a blind date, a person arrives and in that instant can say, ‘I’m glad I did this or I regret it.’”

It also reminded me of a joke often told by Rodney Dangerfield, the well-known American comedian:

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.”

And there you have it….

As I contemplated both the professor and Rodney and the sentiment they shared, I was reminded of a piece I had seen in TIME Magazine regarding the technological aspects of the various revolutions and movements of the past year or so:

“Technology mattered, but this was not a technological revolution. Social networks did not cause these movements, but they kept them alive and connected. Technology allowed us to watch, and it spread the virus of protest, but this was not a wired revolution; it was a human one, of hearts and minds, the oldest technology of all.”

Bottom line – algorithms help us make order out of chaos – but they have no soul.

Imagine a world where we could make peace by algorithm….

So it seems to me that as we contemplate what algorithms can and cannot do – as we understand them for the tools they are and not the tools they might make us – I thought the following might spark a thought or two….


“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
Carl Sagan

So if you are looking for the love of your life or you have the urge to bring about world peace – by all means begin with Bing or Google – but remember that creating the universe takes a lot more thought….

What do you think?

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