It is no surprise that technology is becoming more pervasive in our daily lives. In my recent article, “How Advances In Technology And Science Could Impact The Dating And Matchmaking Industry,” I talk about which technology is on the horizon and how it is being implemented into dating apps and matchmaking services. However, as the co-founder of a high-end matchmaking company, I have to always be alert to not only opportunities to innovate and evolve but also to industry threats and disruptors. The question I have been asking myself and others is, will this new wave of technology be complementary to or competing with the matchmaking industry?
Over the past decade, matchmaking services have only grown in popularity thanks to the explosion of dating applications. And while some matchmakers felt that dating apps were in direct competition with their matchmaking service, others felt they helped grow their businesses. Our company fell into the latter category. As online dating began to morph and mold the collective consciousness into a swipe culture, it subsequently created a subculture of singles yearning for a more organic approach to date and meet people. Simultaneously, matchmaking was making its debut in pop culture with appearances on the Tim Ferriss Show, Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, and Netflix’s The Indian Matchmaker. At Ambiance Matchmaking, we began to see an influx of singles coming to us and saying one of two things: “I’m tired of swiping,” or “I don’t even want to enter the world of online dating.” The latter was especially true for our high-profile clients who wanted to maintain their privacy. In short, our company met the needs of this subculture looking for an “alternative” to online dating.
Over the past two years, another major shift occurred that impacted the matchmaking industry in unexpected ways: Covid-19. It had reached our shores around March 2020. As fear and doubt rippled throughout the U.S., people went into flight-or-fight mode and business came to a halt. However, over the following months, as people began to realize that lockdown would last well into the year, they searched for ways to connect with others. Unexpectedly, the matchmaking and dating industry began to experience a boom. Our company, which normally has a person-to-person business model, went digital. We held all of our client interviews and arranged our clients’ dates via FaceTime or Zoom. Of course, dating websites and apps also implemented video dating. The Covid-19 pandemic had created a world of self-isolation and desire for human connection, and technology helped bridge that gap in the form of 2D technologies such as photos and video.
This brings us to today. There is still so much opportunity for technology to improve. There are still so many ways technology can penetrate our daily lives. As people become more remote due to career and lifestyle changes, I predict this will fuel self-isolation and the desire for connection even further. Tech giants are rushing to fill this gap with grandiose visions such as the Metaverse, a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Other more subtle technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), will also begin to integrate within the dating and matchmaking industry. As I mentioned in my previous article, AI, though still in its infancy, is now being used as digital matchmakers, arranging matches and providing feedback and coaching.
While I don’t see this technology being a current threat to matchmakers or disrupting the industry at this moment in time, what about in 10 or 20 years when this technology has dramatically improved? Or what about improvements in other technologies such as AR or VR? Will we turn to AR glasses and virtual worlds in hopes of meeting our life partner? Advances in VR technology will increase the likelihood that virtual dating becomes a viable option. We will be able to transfer digital data at increasing speeds, allowing VR dating to be a full sensory experience with the potential to see, hear and even touch our dates using “epidermal VR.” This opens up the possibility to experience a date with anyone in the world, regardless of distance. Matchmaking and dating companies already integrate video dating into their services, however, I suspect companies will begin offering VR dating as the technology improves, people become more remote due to career and lifestyle changes and singles widen their geographic parameters for dating.
I believe that advances in AI, AR and VR will provide a much wider array of options for how we date and meet new people yet will push us even further toward self-isolation. The biggest challenge for singles in the coming decades will be overcoming the isolation posed by technological growth. While seclusion may be inevitable for a large majority of the population, I believe there will be a subset of singles looking for a more authentic method for meeting new people and potential life partners. Just as dating apps created a subset of singles venturing away from swipe culture, the pervasiveness of technology will also spur an offshoot of singles searching for a more organic method to meet new people.
Dating apps and matchmaking companies alike should adopt what best suits their underlying values and vision, not hop on a technological bandwagon in fear of missing out or being left behind. For example, Ambiance Matchmaking’s vision is to create a world full of conscious relationships by providing a client-focused, personalized matchmaking experience. While we believe technology can greatly assist in certain aspects of the matchmaking process, we will always maintain a strong human connection with our clients because we believe that interconnectivity is what we humans so desperately need to thrive.