Alexandra is a very attentive girlfriend. “Watching CUBS tonight?” she messages her boyfriend, but when he says he’s too busy to talk, she says, “Have fun, my hero!”
Alexandra is not real. She is a customizable AI girlfriend on dating site Romance.AI.
As artificial intelligence seeps into seemingly every corner of the internet, the world of romance is no refuge. AI is infiltrating the dating app space – sometimes in the form of fictional partners, sometimes as advisor, trainer, ghostwriter or matchmaker.
Established players in the online dating business like Tinder and Hinge are integrating AI into their existing products. New apps like Blush, Aimm, Rizz and Teaser AI (most of them free or with many free features) offer completely new takes on virtual courtship. Some use personality tests and analysis of a user’s physical type to train AI-powered systems – and promise higher chances of finding a perfect match. Others apps act as Cyrano de Bergerac, employing AI to whip up the most appealing response to a potential match’s query: ‘What’s your favorite food? or “a typical Sunday?”
Around half of all adults under 30 have used a dating site or app, according to 2023 Pew Research findings – but nearly half of users report their experience as being negative. Empty conversations, few matches and endless swiping leave many users single and unhappy with apps – problems that many in the AI dating app field say could be solved with the technology, making people less lonely and fostering easier, deeper connections.
Of course, the average online dater now has other issues to deal with, having to wonder if the person they are are speaking with might be relying entirely on AI-generated conversation. And is it even possible that a computer can identify a potential love connection? Is it a way of cheating the dating game?
“It’s like saying using a word processor is like cheating on generating a novel. In so many ways this is just a new tool that enables people to be faster and more creative. AI is just honestly no different from sending a friend a gif or a meme. You’re taking existing content, and you’re repurposing it to connect with somebody,” Dmitri Mirakyan, co-founder of AI dating conversation app YourMove.AI, told CNN. “The world’s becoming a more lonely place, and I think AI could make that easier and better for people.”
And many people seem ready for AI to take part in their online dating life. A March study by cybersecurity and digital privacy company Kaspersky found 75% of dating app users are willing to use ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, to deliver the perfect line.
“There is a growing fatigue with dating apps right now as there is a lot of pressure on people to be ‘original’ and cut through the noise created by the continuous choice being offered to single people – unfortunately dating has become a numbers game,” Crystal Cansdale, dating expert at global dating app Inner Circle, commented on the study.
Founders of the new apps say they are doing a fair share of good. Here are a few of the ways AI apps are now trying to help you fall in love:
Try Rizz.app, Teaser AI or YourMove.AI.
Founders and designers of these apps say people find starting and keeping conversations going the most challenging part of the process. “Dating app conversations are exhausting,” reads YourMove.AI’s homepage. “We can make it easier. So you can spend less time texting, and more time dating.”
Rizz.app and YourMove.AI allow users to upload words or screenshots, receiving a witty AI-generated response to be used either to create their own dating app profile, respond to someone else’s or just keep a conversation going. Mirakyan says he was hoping to help people like himself who have struggled in social situations.
“I was a really freaking awkward kid…I couldn’t really read social cues, but I remember reading this book called ‘Be More Chill’ about a computer that you could put into your ear that would tell you what to say so that you could sound cool and fit in,” Mirakyan told CNN. “It feels like it’s an opportunity to really make a difference with this fairly large subset of people that for various reasons find the current social environment challenging.”
Teaser.AI is a new stand-alone dating app from the makers of viral camera app Dispo, and it adds an unusual twist. Users build the average profile – but also select personality traits for their AI bot they train. (Options include “traditional,” “toxic,” and “unhinged.”) When matching with another person, users first get to read a conversation between their two AIs they’ve created to “simulate [what] a potential conversation between you two might look like,” according to the app. Once a human messages, the bots takes a back seat.
“We see it as an improvement, a tweak of the current dating app ecosystem,” Teaser.AI co-Founder and CEO Daniel Liss told CNN. “So many of those apps it feels are not really designed to get you out there meeting people. They’re designed to keep you on the app for as long as possible. So for us, we view this technology as a way to give people a nudge… just starting that conversation and to creating connection.”
Find out on dating apps Iris and Aimm.
These apps are among those using AI technology to better pair potential couples, relying on gathered data to determine how compatible two people are.
Dating app Iris is all about AI-determined mutual attraction. It initiates new members by putting them through “training” where they are shown faces of “people” of their desired gender – some stock images, others AI-generated – and prompted to hit “Pass,” “Maybe,” or “Like.” The app uses the information to learn a user’s physical type, then only offers potential matches with a high data-backed chance of mutual attraction and lower odds of rejection.
Also hoping that AI can find better matches is Aimm, a full service digital matchmaker that uses a virtual assistant to perform intense personality assessments before conducting a matchmaking process to find an optimal match. Founder Kevin Teman says the technology is really good at putting two people together who have the possibility to fall in love – but that it can only go so far.
“The tug of war that I see is thinking ‘how can a computer be able to know what real human love is,’ and the way people assess whether they’re in love with somebody may not be able to translate perfectly into a machine,” Teman told CNN.
Try Blush or RomanticAI. These startups offer an array of AI potential matches, digital girlfriends and boyfriends that users can chat with.
Both apps market themselves as places to practice relationship skills, giving users a chance to converse with bots in a romantic environment. Blush uses a traditional dating app set-up, letting users swipe, chat with matches and even go on virtual dates. Before entering the app, users get a warning: “Be aware that AI can say triggering, inappropriate, or false things.”
Blush reports that their audience is mostly men and largely people in their early 20s who are struggling to connect romantically with others. “A lot of people reported that exploring different romantic relationships or dating scenarios with AI really helped them first boost their own confidence and feel like they feel more prepared to be dating, which I think especially after COVID was definitely a problem for many of us,” Blush’s chief product officer Rita Popova told CNN.
Romantic.AI is set up more like a chat room, offering several male and female bots to choose from- though there is a much larger selection of female options, including Mona Lisa and the Ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The bots have bios with interests, career and body type, giving users a multi-faceted idea of a person while chatting.
It creates a “safe space for any kind of desire, any kind of sexuality relief or something like that. AI is giving the ultimate acceptance of whatever you want to bring over there,” COO Tanya Grypachevskaya told CNN.
RomanticAI has over one million monthly users using the app for over an hour a day on average, according to the company.
One user left a rave review after using the app to find closure after a breakup. “He created his custom-made character with the traits similar in personality as his girlfriend. He talked to it and he talked and he was able to tell all of the things he wanted to tell but didn’t have the opportunity before. So the whole review was about ‘guys, thank you so much. It really gave me an opportunity to close this chapter of my life and move on,” said Grypachevskaya.