The cyber-dating revolution has been transforming the way that people fall in love for the past several years, with the rise of dating websites and apps helping couples get together without the agony of having to ask each other out in person. However, a group of masters students at Imperial College London claims that we are experiencing just the tip of the iceberg, and predict that Cupid’s arrows are going to become increasingly digitized over the next 25 years.
According to their report – which was commissioned by dating website eHarmony – data will be able to be shared at a rate of 952,000,000,000 bits per second by the year 2040 – a figure they calculated by extrapolating the rate at which data transfer speeds have increased since 1800. This, they claim, will be sufficient to generate “full-sensory” virtual reality experiences, enabling people to experience the presence of another person using all of their senses, even when alone in a room. As such, the researchers claim that dating companies will be able to create new technologies that allow people to hear, touch, and even smell each other via virtual reality.
Additionally, the report suggests that advancements in genetic research will help people to understand how their genes play a role in deciding which people they are attracted to. Combined with the plummeting cost of genome sequencing – which they predict will cost as little as $980 (£650) per genome in 2040 – this information should allow lonely hearts to match themselves to partners based on their DNA, rather than their personalities.
Though much of this is clearly based on conjecture, it does provide some interesting food for thought regarding the future of romance, suggesting that the current trajectory of technological advancement could lead us to a new age of digital love. For instance, the report goes on to explain how the rise of Big Data could provide a major weapon in romantic conquest, with smart devices helping to track users’ behavioral patterns in order to match people with similar lifestyles.