In the future, the use of swapping profiles on a website to decide on compatibility will be seen as archaic. People will focus on sharing their genetic profiles rather than self-described profiles and photographs.
Will this next wave of change in the dating game increase people’s chances of finding happiness or bring to fruition many dystopian visions of the future?
Technology and Dating
In the 19th century, dating was based on social introductions. In the 20th century, the telephone and the automobile made dating even easier and more fun.
Now in the 21st century, dating sites increase the odds of success by increasing the quantity and frequency of interactions.
This tech approach to dating has helped millions of people break out of their social isolation and get married.
While dating agencies are not new, the high-tech approach to dating has transformed this social behavior beyond recognition.
Dating websites can work when people share real information on their profiles, but chances of finding the perfect life partner may not be any higher than when people met in social circles.
When online dating fails, it’s often when people sacrifice reality for a chance to create online profiles about how they would like to be.
Phenotypes and Genotypes
Online dating may increase the chances of finding the right person when people post accurate digital profiles that match up with reality because of a higher volume of people and greater frequency of contacts.
However, the process of making a decision has not changed at all.
We still select our mates based on their phenotypes—those characteristics we can see.
We decide on compatibility based on appearance, health, wealth, social status, education, personality, and so on. We often marry someone who is similar to us or who has qualities we admire.
However, in the future, we may bypass phenotype filtering in favor of selecting the best genotypes.
Dating in Nigeria
Although this idea of selecting by genotype may seem a little far fetched, it is already happening in Nigeria.
Young Nigerians are being counseled to pay attention to their dates genotypes before deciding on marriage. The reason for this social pressure to make an informed decision about their partner's genes is because of the high prevalence of sickle cell in Nigeria.
The issue is considered so important that the Anambra state parliament passed a law that made genotype testing a condition of marriage. As a result, no church or registry can marry a couple without a certificate.
Dating used to be based on the art of discernment and good judgement. Then, in an effort, to increase the odds of finding the right person, technology entered the scene through the portal of dating websites.
Now, with the increasing accuracy of genotype information, science is introducing us to a brave new world. Will it lead to happier families or discrimination against people who didn’t win the gene lottery?
Will a beautiful, warm-hearted Ph.D. remain unwed because their genetic family history shows traits of Alzheimer’s? Only time will tell.
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