If Nate Silver’s rise to cult status teaches this math-averse town anything, it’s that algorithms can be sexy. And what’s sexier than using them to find sex itself?
Dan Slater’s “Love in the Time of Algorithms” explores the history and modern-day implications of the explosive growth of online dating, now a $2 billion business in North America. His book — a sampling of which ran recently in the Atlantic — offers an interesting history of computer-aided matchmaking, an anthropological look at online dating behavior and social network-style profiles of some of the (seemingly all male) founders of the era’s biggest online dating success stories, including OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match and eHarmony.
Interspersed are short excerpts from the dating life and times of Alexis, a 20-something woman who’s swinging it online and otherwise in New York. Maybe if you’re a young urban hipster — the kind of person who believes that “privacy was something old people fussed over” — these excerpts won’t raise your eyebrows. But otherwise, prepare to experience future-oriented despair.