BENGALURU: Cupid can don many different roles or avatars. Friend, colleague, family member... But Shalvi Sharma Mukherjee and Srijan Mukherjee owe their matchmaking to Artificial Intelligence (AI). The duo met on an AI-based matchmaking platform, betterhalf.ai, in 2018 and recently tied the knot. But what made the two trust technology to this extent? “Intelligent systems are better equipped. I was interested in seeing how it could be leveraged to compute a better match as compared to the competition, which use traditional means,” says design advisorShalvi (27) adds that the best part of the experience was the limited number of filtered prospective matches. “This really simplifies one’s search. Srijan and I found each other within a few months of using the app,” she adds.
Welcome to the modern-day dating, where technology has made things quick, simple and convenient when you are trying to meet a partner. “Dating apps have gone from being a place of experimentation to a socially-acceptable avenue for finding a partner,” says Melissa Hobley, CMO, OkCupid, adding that this year, she foresees more people standing up for what they believe in and “not settle or compromise in finding their kind of a serious relationship.”
Agrees Shalini Singh, founder of matchmaking platform andwemet.com, who says besides convenience of meeting someone new, dating going online has also made it easier for people to speak out about relevant relationship matters. “For example, on our platform, people answer all sorts of questions, ranging from whether they are a pet person and expect their partner to be one as well to what their growing up years was like, what their sexual drive is, etc. You end up knowing a lot more about a person before you choose to invest your time in them,” she explains, adding that of their 85 per cent Indian user base, Bengaluru accounts for at least 50 per cent of the pie.
But when it comes to convenience, dating and matchmaking apps aren’t the only ones ruling the roost. Social media too has been emerging as a popular way to meet and interact with new people. “Sometimes, if I want to continue talking to someone new, I will give them my Instagram handle instead of phone number. It makes me feel safer since they can’t exactly contact me and blocking them is that much easier,” explains Anjali, a content writer.
Professional networking platform LinkedIn too isn’t far behind in lending a helping hand. While people tend to be picky about the requests they accept on Insta or Facebook, they’re less inhibited when it comes to LinkedIn, finds Anjali. “I was curious about someone and connected with them on a whim. It didn’t lead anywhere but it was interesting to see how the avenues to meet new people have really widened these days,” she explains.
But how far does tech help one find love? This city-based retailer, who wished to be anonymous, sums it up: “I don’t know if there is anything easy about getting to know a partner. But being online helps breaks geographical boundaries. For someone whose best friends are books, online is a good way to meet someone.”
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Tinder is currently anticipating increased activity in the week leading up to the day, with activity reaching an all-time high between January 1 and February 13. According to a statement by the app, “Tinder members will swipe an average of 100 more times per person than other similar length time periods.” Namma ooru also features second, after Delhi NCR, on their list of most active cities on the platform, followed by Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh. But when it comes to swiping right, the city ranks sixth, after Pune, Delhi NCR, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Age is just a number
While dating apps generally cater to the 18-35 age bracket, a variety of platforms are also coming up with options for those beyond that age group. According to Shalini Singh of andwemet.com, about 15 per cent of the members are above 40 years, who are ready to invest in a relationship. For instance, for this 43-year-old city-doctor, online platforms came as a boon in the midst of his busy work schedule. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have met my lady love, who is currently in Delhi. We are taking small steps for now but things look quite bright,” he says.