Bumble founder proposes world where AI develops dating capabilities in dystopian, post-human move

In a conference with Bloomberg Tech yesterday, founder, former CEO, and current executive chair of the dating app Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd, examined the state of her company and how it fits into the AI landscape. 

One proposal in particular made by Herd is circulating across the internet with haste. The company’s founder boldly threw out the idea of creating an AI “concierge” through Bumble that you could share information about yourself with and then send that piece of AI on a virtual “date” with a potential partner’s AI avatar in hopes that their completely made-up, zero-human-interaction-necessary “date” could lead to something between two people. 

After dropping the idea out in the open, Herd was immediately greeted with chuckles and giggles from the crowd, to which she was noticeably surprised. “No, no, truly,” she deflected. “And then you don’t have to talk to 600 people. It will scan all of San Francisco for you and say, these are the three people you really ought to meet.” 

Even the host of the discussion, Bloomberg’s Emily Chang, couldn’t contain a cackle as Herd attempted to spin the idea into “the power of AI harnessed the right way.” 

Herd made it clear that she’d like AI to help people learn how to flirt, date, and create worthwhile partnerships. By sharing information, such as your insecurities with an AI companion on the app, “[AI] could help you train yourself into a better way of thinking about yourself,” according to Herd. “And then it could give you productive tips for communicating with other people.”

Or, here’s an idea: Go on a date. Learn a few lessons about yourself. Find someone who makes you genuinely happy and watch your life improve overnight. I dare you. Get tapped in with what you like and don’t like about other people and I personally guarantee you’ll make so much more tangible progress than you ever could with a piece of AI. 

Bumble stands out in the modern landscape as a woman-first dating app, entirely due to its trademark feature of letting women “make the first move” in an effort to promote comfortability. Many critics of the AI dating proposal brought forth by Herd at this conference fear that the increased focus on artificiality could negate the humane, safety-driven aspect that Bumble has promoted for women and built itself on since its inception a decade ago. 

Other skeptics commented that Herd’s bizarre proposal could be an effort to jumpstart the dating app’s presence in the AI world after Bumble’s stock plummeted -$64.16 (roughly 85 percent) following its initial IPO in 2021. 

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