The Internet is now the most popular way for couples to meet each other, claims a Stanford University paper. In their study focused on American heterosexual couples, researchers concluded that online dating has now “displaced friends and families as key intermediaries in the formation of new unions.” Senior editor at The Atlantic Derek Thompson weighs in on the disruptive force of technology.
“We are now twice as likely to meet our partners online as we are through a friend,” shares Atlantic editor Derek Thompson on the Here & Now podcast. It’s fascinating, he says, because technology has successfully disrupted one of the oldest marketplaces in human history: “We have been meeting, mating, amd marrying other humans for 200,000 years, mostly through established networks of friends and family. Human history has seen an utter reversal [of that] in just the last decade.”
An activity that was once shared between members of a community has now become a solo act. The responsibility of finding a partner now lies on us, and our choices are filtered through an algorithm rather than a network of intimates. But how does an algorithm compare to trusted sources like family and friends? Thompson shares that we’re more likely to meet someone different than us through an app as opposed to our social network, especially when it comes to interracial dating. Evidence suggests that our social network is actually limiting the scope of the dating market for us by filtering people deemed too different.
“One of the real benefits of online dating is that it empowers individuals,” says Thompson. “It frees them from some of the biases […] of their social networks.”
You can listen to the full interview here.
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