EVERY YEAR FOR five years, the swipe-free dating site eharmony shacks up with Imperial College London to make predictions about the future of dating. While this offers a sliver of respectability to eharmony's science of relationships schtick, it's less obvious what Imperial College gets out of the wild speculation which will very likely be disproved just a few years down the road, but there we are.
So what does the 2018 report predict? Well most dubiously, the researchers are going big on virtual assistants that may act as some kind of relationship barometer by the year 2021.
There are all kinds of reasons why treating Alexa as some kind of love life Magic 8 Ball might be a bad idea, most prominent of which is its penchant for mishearing things, but the report reckons Google Home or an Amazon Echo could tell if your relationship is struggling with 75 per cent accuracy via "acoustic analysis of verbal communication." Mmmm, creepy and with a one in four chance of dishing out bad advice. Colour us sold!
The other suggestions in the report are only slightly less fanciful, but at least they don't involve making Jeff Bezos the third wheel in your relationship. By 2025, the report predicts, sexual chemistry will be quantifiable, measured by vital statistics and genetic code.
If that sounds sexy, prepare for a figurative cold shower. Major Histocompatibility Complex genes will be measurable to check for compatibility of those who have never met, the report says. Meanwhile wearable technology (not there, take your Fitbit out of your pants) will track things like eye contact, touch frequency, verbal communication patterns, heart rate and blood pressure for those in close proximity. Though unless wearable technology happens to be your date's fetish, we'd predict quite low scores here.
Still, at least you can fall back on your trusty sex robot. The report cautions that banging a human-shaped lump of silicon might not be that fulfilling though, predicting that "sex robots will be likely to serve a different role to casual relationships, offering short-term postponement of sexual needs."
Stop the world, we want to get off. No, not like that. µ
Facebook? Privacy scandal? Well we never
A hard pill to swallow
Right on schedule, sort of
Other drivers also had deep access to system guts