Genetic matching and big data on the horizon of relationships

Genetic matching and big data on the horizon of relationships

imagesYB0U6TD3 Genetic matching, big data, human relationships.

Karen just spent 15 dollars to have her “love footprint” mapped and uploaded in the app. It took less than half an hour to have her dna mapped, after a simple oropharyngeal swab. She entered the app menu, which prompted her to go even further: “permission to access your social data”; she clicked yes and connected the app to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Instagram. Behind the scenes all the information about years of preferences, likes and dislikes, pictures, friends, propensities and many other behaviours flowed into the powerful alghoritm of the app. She didn’t even forgot to input her loyalty card identification code, so her shopping habits as well went into the blender (or at least this was the way she used to call it). The last step was to purchase the “love footprint wristband” which would have recorded and used several information coming from her real interaction with other people (blood pressure, body heat, tone of voice, heartbeat etc…). That was the full package that during the weekend would have allowed her to match her profile with those of men having the same app. She didn’t expect that much the very first night, a friend of her told that the system was based on artificial intelligence and took some time to learn how to manage efficiently so many information, but she had waited 35 years to find the right mate, she could have waited another few weeks.

imagesY2KKWY7LGenetic matching is the idea of matching couples for romantic relationships based on their biological compatibility. Although some people are still skeptical about it, there is science and research behind the concept (follow the links to find out selected sources). It is based on how compatible your immune system is to that of your partner. Basically, your immune system is regulated by HLAs, or human leukocyte antigens. Different people have different HLAs, and studies have determined that people may be attracted to those with HLA profiles that are highly dissimilar to their own. In other words science confirms that “opposites attract.” The antropologic reason is simple, a “rich” immune system allows for better survival. Some companies have already commercialized the idea (for example Genepartner and Instant Chemistry).

The idea of sharing personal data does not happen automatically today. People accessing to dating sites or apps usually answer to in depth questionnaires about them, but there’s a problem in this, people lie and oversell themselves. If the info are taken from social profiles, it becomes hard to fully invent a parallel life. With users’ permission, dating services could access vast amounts of data, sex and relationships are fertile new frontiers for measurement. Big data provides insights into why relationships work and fail (as well reported in this Fastcoexist post and in this exhaustive BBC article).

Genetic matching and big data on the horizon of relationshipsThis is not a surprise considering that US internet dating revenues top $2bn (£1.2bn) annually, according to research company IBISWorld. Just under one in 10 of all American adults have tried it.

The wristband for this scope, does not exist yet, but we all know that wearables will be focusing on health control. So the point is only about how you use the data, not if the data will be available.

In the meantime, we can continue to approach the lady and ask “may I offer you something to drink?”, as in the old times.

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