Can artificial intelligence really ‘know’ us?

Posted 10/4/23

A recent story in the “Wall Street Journal” chronicled the use of artificial intelligence in a new dating app. Users snap a photo of their face — that’s it — and the AI …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Can artificial intelligence really ‘know’ us?


A recent story in the “Wall Street Journal” chronicled the use of artificial intelligence in a new dating app. Users snap a photo of their face — that’s it — and the AI system proceeds to craft a profile of their personality, which it then tests against other generated personalities on the site and assigns a likelihood of them being a compatible match.

Whether or not it works is completely speculative and highly subjective (the author used it to assess the hypothetical compatibility with her husband of over two decades; it said they were a 55% match).

But what is more interesting about the app is how it contributes to the rapidly growing list of things tech entrepreneurs are throwing artificial intelligence at in order to possibly make the next billion dollar advancement.

From conquering cancer, to solving climate change, to building Matrix-esque virtual reality video games, redesigning city highways and everything in between, AI is the conductor on a million different hype trains promising a better, more efficient and evolved tomorrow.

But at least for now, those ambitions appear to be quite a ways ahead of their time — at least in regard to areas where human intuition come into play.

Having a powerful computer algorithm analyze trillions of combinations of DNA to develop new vaccines and cures for diseases is one thing, but figuring out a stranger’s intentions, ambitions, and personality through a simple scan of their face? Such work (done accurately, at least) is relegated to the world of science fiction for now.

The Achilles heel of most artificial intelligence systems today comes back to their inability to truly “know” anything. Even the most advanced AI-powered chat bots, to date, are merely sophisticated replicators of known data fed into their algorithms. Data can provide powerful indicators enabling these systems to make very accurate predictions, but data alone cannot account for the many variables that contribute towards a person making a singular decision at any various point in their lives. Humans are inherently unpredictable to a certain degree, which doesn’t easily jive with the mathematical minds of computers.

This does not mean this will always be the case. As machine learning progresses and artificial intelligence becomes more powerful, there very may well come a day when a computer can spit out a dating profile that so closely matches your own interests and quirks that it will change everything we know about dating. We may soon live in a world where political debates are unnecessary, as programs could fully extrapolate and accurately predict the policy decisions a potential president will make before they’re even given the chance to make them.

To say this would be a brave new world is to be a vast understatement, but for now, you’re probably better off grabbing a drink and a bite to eat with a potential mate rather than waiting for them to be zapped into your inbox, eagerly awaiting their robotically chosen suitor.

AI, editorial


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here