Dating in the Dark Renaissance
Note: I use text-to-speech to protect the identities of people I interview.
Scarlett: I'm your host, Scarlett and welcome to "Dark Renaissance," the podcast where we discuss the pursuit of living a meaningful life in a post crypto-AI space-age world.
Today we have a thought-provoking topic to delve into. Online dating, as we know it, needs a major makeover. Joining me today is my lovely guest, Cat. Cat, how are you feeling about this?
Cat: Hey, Scarlett! I'm thrilled to be here. Anyways, online dating definitely needs some serious rethinking. This is true across all dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Raya in the West and Tan Tan, Momo, and Heartbeat in China.
Scarlett: Absolutely, Catherine! So, let's start with the issues we see in current dating app culture. It often feels shallow and appearance-based. It's all about looks, with little emphasis on personality.
Cat: Exactly! It's like a swipe-right frenzy based on physical appearances alone. Let's face it, dating apps are like a Victoria’s Secret digital beauty pageant for men, and social climbing borderline prostitution for women.
Scarlett: Oh, the vanity of it all! But it's not just about looks. We also have to talk about hookup culture. I totally agree, it's not exclusive to men; women are very actively participating too. It has become a game of free dinners and ladder climbing, playing multiple people at the same time. In America, many people now say “what’s your body count?” to ask how many people you’ve had sex with. None of this is healthy.
Cat: So unhealthy. The incentives in the current dating app model are all wrong. These apps profit when we remain single and keep swiping. Sure, some claim to be different, like Hinge, but the underlying incentives always govern the outcomes.
Scarlett: It's a broken system. To the people just looking for sex, I think it’s super healthy to be up front and honest about it. Saying something like, “Hey, I am just looking for a friend with benefits. I don’t want to be public, and you’re not going to meet my parents” is going to end up being a better relationship and probably better sex. I think women have a hard time saying this, and men are criticized if they say this. Anyways, to make matters worse, AI is entering the scene, and it's destroying our assumptions about our partners being authentic and honest even faster.
Cat: Yes. I've heard lots of stories of people using chat GPT and LLaMa on dating apps to find matches. It's not just men; women do it too. Did you know that many women on OnlyFans don't even respond to their own messages?
Scarlett: Oh, the joys of technology! But fear not, there's hope on the horizon. We can dream up an ideal dating scenario. Let's explore what that might look like.
Cat: I love philosophizing about the future. So, first off, let's ditch the superficiality and focus on personality. A comprehensive personality test, like the Myers-Briggs, can be a great starting point.
Scarlett: Absolutely! Understanding each other's personalities beyond the surface level can lead to deeper connections. We need to dig into hobbies and interests too.
Cat: That's right! Simply putting a tag about your hobbies in your profile isn't enough. We need evidence of actions. Deeds. Many career-first individuals may exaggerate their hobbies or neglect them altogether. We need genuine interests and not just something they did ages ago. How many “environmentalists” on dating apps do you think have participated in more than 10 beach clean-ups? I’d guess less than 1%.
Scarlett: Yeah, everyone is an arm-chair environmentalist. Just go on any social media, everyone is virtue signalling at every opportunity, but they mostly just spend time on their phones. Their “hobbies” are the product of their tiger mothers forcing them to play piano when they were young… Personally, I’ve found this to be most frequent in the VC community. Career-driven people tend to be the worst people to date.
If only we could meet cute guys who share common interests in a spontaneous way.
Cat: There's something inherently magical about coincidental first encounters. Everyone loves a good story. And think about it, when your relationship gets serious, everyone wants to know, "How did you meet?" Women love being able to brag about how unique their first encounter was.
Scarlett: You're so right. It's terribly unromantic to say you met on Tinder, Hinge, or Tan Tan. Some couples even lie to avoid mentioning it. I’ve heard some hilarious fake stories.
Cat: Can't blame them. Have you heard about the rational community on Twitter and their "date me" docs? I think it started around the LessWrong community. That very wild woman Aella definitely contributed to the “date me docs” popularity.
Scarlett: Ah, yes! Hyper-specific Google Docs outlining their ideal match. They're quite interesting, aren't they?
Cat: They seem a bit desperate and overly meticulous to me. Like asking a waiter to make sure your drink only has 3 ice cubes. But the date me docs do show the need for a new system of meeting people, especially as we find ourselves spending more and more time alone or travelling nomadically where we don’t have the same networks of friends that we made in college or in-person jobs.
Scarlett: Absolutely. It's a changing landscape, and we need to adapt. Now, let's talk about something that might just revolutionize the dating scene: the metaverse.
Cat: Ah, the metaverse! It's the buzzword of the moment. But what exactly do we mean by it?
Scarlett: Well, think of it as a public ledger of past actions, a digital footprint of sorts. It allows you to see inside someone's "digital closet" and offers a degree of anonymity.
Cat: Yes. At first glance, NFTs might seem like a gimmick, with gamblers trying to make a quick buck. But they actually point us in the right direction.
Scarlett: They're like seeds planted for a more meaningful connection. They also help us filter out the gamblers and people with a terrible taste in art. As people join various online communities or "network states," relationships can form. Did you see Cabin’s announcement about their first network cities?
Cat: Yes, Cabin looks awesome. On the note of meeting people, I've already met someone thanks to the metaverse. I met this incredibly cute guy at an NFT meetup for a DAO I'm a part of. Turns out, we were anonymous friends on Discord and Twitter for quite some time. I had worked on some designs, and he contributed to the setup of the DAO.
Scarlett: What a coincidence! And I bet you had a lot to talk about, didn't you?
Cat: Oh, absolutely! It didn't even feel like a typical date. We had a few encounters before our first date, and there was a healthy distance between us. It felt like meeting someone in college, surrounded by a supportive community. We were both happy we didn’t have to do the typical meet-and-greet over alcohol in a bar. As you know, I rarely drink alcohol.
Scarlett: That sounds lovely, Cat. Having a community around you can definitely alleviate some of the challenges that come with dating apps. It's like merging friend groups right from the start.
Cat: Exactly! Art communities, especially in the crypto space, can be a fantastic way to meet someone. There's shared passion and a sense of belonging.
Scarlett: It sounds like the metaverse might help alleviate much of the vanity of dating in today’s culture.
Cat: Yes, I think we’re about to see a lot of weddings thanks to the communities forming around DAOs, NFTs, and crypto. Instead of swiping, we get to spend some time with someone in a soft setting online before meeting them in person. These communities are international and multicultural, which makes meeting people a lot more exciting.
Scarlett: Yeah, it’s so international. Anyways, that’s all for now. Thanks Cat. This was my first podcast, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you have ideas for future podcasts, please feel free to request a topic.
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