Exploring love’s dark corners with AI | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Kristen Thomas. // Photo by Nicole Bissey

Artificial intelligence freaks me out in many regards to this day, yet it’s hard to argue against its growing practical benefits. 

I used to give the contact info of the now-defunct Slutbot to clients who were not well-versed in the art of sexy talk. When I proposed options like practicing running lines in a mirror, practicing with a friend, or texting with a bot, people asked for that number with quickness.

Social competencies that make us good at flirting, such as holding spontaneous conversations, building rapport, and utilizing wit to woo people, all fall under a chicken and egg situation—these skills require practice, but because some of us might feel silly while practicing, we avoid trying, and therefore never hone the art of flirtation. 

If a piece of technology that uses AI can allow someone to get better at speaking a foreign language, why can’t it support us in learning how to be a flirt or a fabulous dirty talker? On the other hand, what if people only interact with a device, leading to more socially incompetent or deviant behavior? These are my internal dilemmas over AI infiltrating the dating world. I blame that prick James Cameron for this conundrum. 

There are most certainly pros to using AI in dating situations, including making better quality matches, detecting scams, saving time, and preventing analysis paralysis. 

OkCupid has 4,000 questions available to hone in on compatibility. Allegedly, their algorithm really kicks into gear once you’ve answered 500 of their prompts. 

AI can help verify user identities and detect fake profiles, making online dating safer by reducing the risk of catfishing and cyberflashing. Tinder reverse-image searches users’ photos since it’s a common scam to pilfer from Instagram profiles. 

Bumble has been keeping unsolicited dick pics out of your DMs via image recognition set to scan for nudes. Some peoples’ junks have been floating around the internet, and now they are being utilized as data to train neural networks so you don’t have to see the horrors of unwanted flaccid cock in your inbox ever again. 

Saving time is a natural benefit of AI as it helps automate tasks, making dating more easy and accessible. Tinder announced that they will soon roll out an AI-powered tool to help users select the most appealing photos. I have been paid to do this task, so believe me when I say a second opinion, even a virtual one, is often valuable, and there are stats on what kind of photos get people more swipes. 

Tech can help with what to say to break the ice. When it comes to sending a catchy first message, a recent poll by Kaspersky showed that 75% of surveyed dating app users are willing to try out ChatGPT for better pick-up lines. Is it because they see the benefit in AI helping them be more creative, or is it because they think anything has to be better than the typical “Hey” or “What’s up?”

OkCupid debuted a messaging partnership feature with ChatGPT in February of this year. According to their own numbers, OkCupid users who think ChatGPT is a “life-saver” get almost 40% more matches on OkCupid than those who think it’s “too big brother.” Bots like YourMove.AI offer both dating profile polishing and texting tête-à-tête features.

You can use ChatGPT to craft opening lines for yourself, no matter what messaging platform you’re using. Tell it some of your match’s interests, and you will get mostly dad-joke-approved one-liners. It will not feed you lines that pick-up artists tend to use that include negging, comparison, or sexualization. 

Not everyone is on board with tech infiltrating their dating life. OkCupid’s research showed that 70% of respondents said using AI for your profile is whack. Daters I talked to who felt icky about this topic shared opinions like “It would feel inauthentic“ and “Who would I be falling in love with?” Critics online share that AI-generated content on profiles and AI-assisted conversations often fall flat because they lack banter and cultural language subtleties, and there’s no way to convey an individual’s personality. 

One writer on Medium had a striking title: “I Tried Rizz—The Hot New Dating Assistant That Flirts For You: And then I took a shower and wept for humanity.” Ouch! Is it the app, or is it humanity? Rizz has been styled as your “AI Wingperson.” Just like ChatGPT, it can be used for any messaging, but Rizz is supposed to turn up the cha”rizz”ma. However, this could lead to an overreliance on technology, making it even more difficult for individuals to develop essential social skills and emotional connections.

Replika users have been a topic of discussion online for this overreliance on tech and its pipeline to abuse. On this platform, one can create a customizable girlfriend and tell it to do anything. Anything. As writer Ashely Bardhan wrote for Futurist, this allows people to “create AI partners, act abusively towards them, then post the toxic interactions online” via Reddit forums.

It’s more than moderately dystopian to think about how those who can’t abuse in person will practice abuse on a virtual character and then model such behavior for others if given the chance. Arguing it’s not abusive behavior if the subject isn’t sentient is akin to saying serial killers are no threat when they were killing small animals in their early years. 

The System from the Black Mirror episode, “Hang The DJ,”  feels eerily similar to Teaser.AI, where your trained avatars begin the interaction, simulating a conversation before one of you hops in and takes over. 

Algorithms are not immune to bias and racism, and they can inadvertently reinforce societal stereotypes and inequalities, leading to discrimination in matching and recommendations. 

AI-powered dating apps collect vast amounts of personal data, raising concerns about data security and how this information may be used or shared without user consent. Scammers get more and more clever, and this is another window of opportunity. 

Certainly, people have a wide range of feelings regarding how much they are willing to allow technology to intrude on their dating lives. There’s hope for the best— instances of positive effects such as teaching manners, philosophy, and empathy—and yet, if I were writing a Black Mirror episode, there are endless possibilities at this intersection. 

People have used quotes from books, poets, and songs for much of our history to strike up seductive conversations. Dating profiles are filled with quotes from TV and film. What does it matter if they used AI to generate a few questions to start a convo with you? Perhaps AI will come for us one day, but it’s more likely we are going to find a balance between utility purposes and having it overrun our lives.  

You can find Kristen @OpenTheDoorsKC on Instagram or

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