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Love In The Time Of Algorithms: What Technology Does For Meeting and Dating: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating [Hardcover]

Dan Slater
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2013
The online-dating industry now serves millions and millions of singles worldwide. Once considered the realm of the lonely and desperate, this phenomenon has been embraced by every demographic.

Dan Slater tells the remarkable story of how online dating is spurring on a new kind of sexual revolution. Thanks to the efficiency of the Internet, compatible mates are no longer a scarce commodity. Efficiency and control are altering our perception of what's possible in our personal lives and reconditioning our feelings about stability and commitment.

Blending history, psychology and interviews with site creators and users, Slater takes readers behind the scenes of a fascinating business. Dating sites like Match and Plenty of Fish capitalise on our quest for love. But how do their creators' ideas about profits, morality and the nature of desire shape the virtual worlds they've created for us and the relationships we engage in offline?

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Current (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591845319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845317
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Slater considers all these issues in an intelligent, edgy, thought-provoking way. His book is worth at least a speed date.""--""Washington"" Post Books" "In 'Love in the Time of Algorithms' journalist Dan Slater has dug in manfully to explain how technology is transforming how we meet and fall in love.""--The Wall Street Journal" "Slater's account of the history of the cyber dating industry--from ginormous clunky old computers to modern complex algorithms--is well detailed.""--The Financial Times" "From the hilariously awkward beginings of Harvard's computer-dating industry to the groovy Miami parties of the profession today, Slater expertly leads us through the biggest reshuffle in courtship in our lifetime (from here, the '60s and '70s look like Jane Austen).An astute investigation of the way technology may have remade the most important aspect of existence: love."--VANESSA GRIGORIADIS, contributing editor, "New York Magazine" "One in five relationships now starts in front of a computer. But how did we get here? Dan Slater gives us a peek into the quirky minds of the dating executives who built the industry and the lives of those who have been forever transformed by the online-dating revolution. As one of those execs, I thought I knew the story. But with humor and fresh insight, Slater will change the way you think about love in a digital world."--SAM YAGAN, cofounder and CEO, OkCupid" " "An irresistible read that details the efforts of computer scientists and entrepreneurs to solve the oldest of life's challenges: finding the right life partner. Neither a slam nor cel-ebration of online dating, Slater's book makes it clear that mate finding really has changed forever, and like it or not, we're probably not going back."--TIM WU, author of "The Master Switch" ""Love in the Time of Algorithms "is a fascinating romp through the world of online dating. The book is packed with anecdotes about how people are adapting (or not) to lo

About the Author

Dan Slater is a widely published author of journalism and creative nonfiction. A former legal affairs reporter for The Wall Street Journal, he is currently a contributor to Fast Company and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York magazine and GQ.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Jens F
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If somebody sees the book on your coffee table, they will think that it is about how to be more succesful at online dating.

While you may get that as a bonus from reading the book, it is really a book that gives you a very interesting insight into the history and modern day of the online dating business. I certainly learnt a few things that surprised me.

A good read!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fun but limited 29 May 2013
By C. P. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
What a fun topic. I think just about anyone could find this one interesting.

That said, I found that the author, unfortunately, really didn't deliver. Here are some things I felt the book was a little short on:

- Algorithms. There's a great set of correlations about halfway through the book from the blog of one of the guys who started OKCupid, but that was about it. In other words, the behind-the-scenes stuff about how all this works really wasn't there. Instead, what we get is a lot of history and individual stories. Interesting, but just not the same.

- Lots of jumping around. I like when an author threads a bunch of stories together, but - honestly - I had a really hard time keeping track of who's who or even what a particular section was about. And his attempts at transitions from one part to another (when there) seemed rather forced.

- Somewhat surprisingly obscene material. Maybe this was in there solely for titillation, or maybe that's just the way things are these days. I don't know. It really didn't seem necessary however. I'm not a prude, but I thought it was really overplayed.

- Wearing his politics on his sleeve. It's pretty obvious that he's rather liberal when it comes to sexual matters. He doesn't seem to take the more conservative eHarmony very seriously, and he also goes a little nuts on the international sites (he sees them as imperialistic exploitation). I'm pretty liberal myself, but could definitely have used a little more balance.

- Lack of real depth. This is very much a journalistic effort. If you're expecting a Dan-Ariely- or Malcolm-McDowell-like work, you'll be disappointed.

Just to even things out, though, I really did like his cynical musings on the whole process - the questions he raises about the combination of commerce and romance. In particular, I liked his argument about how it's simply not good business to pair your clients off and make them happy. You really want them to keep fishing, to never really be satisfied, to always think there are more options, to keep coming back to the site.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 2 Mar 2013
By Katherine Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Slater offers a fascinating, behind-the-screens look into the complex world of online dating. Without judgement or bias he leads us through the workings of companies from Match to AshleyMadison. Love in the Time of Algorithms shows us how the internet reflects our varied preferences and explores the way that endless choice effects our relationships. Written without dogma, his intelligent and thoughtful book lets his readers form their own conclusions.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and dating in the time of the internet. 25 Feb 2013
By Ken Kugler - Published on Amazon.com
I heard about, Love in the Time of Algorithms, by Dan Slater, on wnyc.org a few weeks ago. I know that the internet dating scene had changed alot and that interested me. It has become a grand meeting place for people and does not have the stigma that it used to have even as recently as 15 years ago.
I know several people who have meet their spouse on the internet and a couple more who are in long(ish) term relations with internet dating sites to thank. That said, I was interested in the technical points and the author had started this book originally as a couple of magazine articles that he was encouraged to expand into this book. The book explores the evolution of dating questions and how it is used to reach people. An interesting sidebar is that the authors found out that his parents had met via a computer match.
That said, it seems that computer/internet dating should evolve into another form of meeting people. It, having lost mostly, the stigma it had in the past seems like it should be just another form of dating but many things come into play. The lack of transparency by the dating services on how many people are actively involved is one thing. They leave people who have registered and left on forever. An example is that one of the owners' of a dating site has been married for ten years and yet his profile leads the uninformed to think that it has been inactive only for three weeks. Also the pay sites do not let you know how many people are just registered and not paying members so that they cannot respond right away. Another issue that has popped up is internet scams, preying on the lonely. The companies have only recently started policing themselves to ferret out fraud and sex offenders. This was after a couple of well publicized cases of rape and cases involving people losing large amounts of money. Also this book pointed out how easy it is for the internet to give information away about you, personally. I found after using some of its tips way too many personal things about myself and now know that I have no influence over these factors.
Just like the real world, internet dating is a place to find people. It works maybe as well as where we are day to day because so many people are not able to meet people in their immediate spheres of day by day life. It CAN be a useful tool along with face to face meetings. It also seems that the internet also causes some to blog or share too much and it can become the show and the audience can become additive to some who need the approval.
All in all, this entire book was a good read that was very well written and enjoyable from the start to the end.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Zinn on Love 4 Feb 2013
By Mary Shelton - Published on Amazon.com
This book was a great read. The history around how internet dating has evolved combined with the anecdotes about how people are adapting to this environment for meeting and mating was fascinating, entertaining and informative. I wasn't certain what I could get out of the book being married already, but I was curious about the topic and Slater's unbiased approach to tackling this topic and chronicling it's evolution is excellent. Rarely would I recommend a book to all genders and age ranges, but this book does for technology and dating what Zinn did for the account on US history.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding love in all the wrong places 24 Jan 2013
By Dr. Wilson Trivino - Published on Amazon.com
In the world of singles, the traditional model of dating is that to meet a quality person is to participate in activities you like and have an open mind. This will result in meeting like-minded individuals that may be potential mates. Dan Slater attempts in `Love in the Time of Algorithms' to explain how technology fits into this traditional methods of dating.

Webster's defines algorithms as a mathematical rule or procedure for solving a problem. Slater's hypothesis is that technology has replaced the way that courtships occur today. Another traditional sense was that a community, vis-à-vis, through religion, the neighborhood, or friends, single individuals were selected for introduction. The rise of technology while creating more interconnectedness has resulted in less of a traditional way of meeting.

From the first personal ads in newspapers, to the video dating, to online dating, there has been a stigma in using these `services'. Slater blames this stigma on people feeling that they can not meet someone in a traditional sense but the use of technology are seen as inferior.

Slater has examined some of the most popular internet based matching making sites, from eHarmony to Match to Plenty of Fish and examined their inner workings. The algorithms that these companies use are more of a sorting mechanism, but like in real life, there is no real way of knowing if a match will work. The successful results are difficult to replicate.

One factor that bears into these encounters that is not really discussed is that once a person decides to use these services, then they are more open to making the potential encounter work. It seems that technology will not replace the "gut" feeling that occurs when two people meet. Also, the results are really not quantifiable, as there is not central accounting of marriages that result from online dating.

While technology has changed the method of making the first encounter, the `making it work' aspect still depends on the individuals.

This is an insightful read into how internet based dating company models behavior to select a potential. The algorithm of love, though, is still not understood. (by C. David Trivino)
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