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    Perils & Ethics Of ChatGPT In Dating: I Tried It So You Don’t Have To

    To help me out in the dance of dating, I decided to explore the new in-thing that everyone can’t stop raving about, ChatGPT.
    Updated at - 2023-02-10,12:23 IST
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    After a brief hiatus, when I decided to re-install a dating app, I was wary, bored and tired of modern day dating. The first bit of making a profile again is always the hardest. Does this photo make my nose look too big? Are my answers witty enough? What is this new poll feature now? Do I HAVE to do this drill only for BOYS? *eyeroll* UGH. The frustration was real. To help me out in the dance of dating, I decided to explore the new in-thing that everyone can’t stop raving about, ChatGPT. I mean, why not right? What’s better than an AI writing a bio for a world where algorithms predict dating styles for us? 

    So I asked ChatGPT to write a dating app bio for a 27-year-old journalist looking for a serious relationship. (Yeah, I know what they say about not defining yourself by the work you do…)

    It came up with “Aspiring wordsmith, passionate about uncovering the truth and sharing it with the world. When I'm not chasing a story, you can find me exploring new places, trying out new foods, and cuddling up with a good book. Ready for a partner who is kind, driven, and open to adventure. Let's build something great together.”

    WOW. Wildly accurate!

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    I’m intrigued. Okay, let’s feed in some more details and see what it comes up with. 

    I type, “write a dating app bio for a 27-year-old female, working as a journalist, passionate about art, ukulele and new experiences, looking for a serious relationship”

    It replies, “Curious journalist seeking a partner in crime to explore the world of art, music, and adventure with. When I'm not chasing a story, you can find me strumming my ukulele or trying out new experiences. Looking for a kind, open-minded and artistic person who is also ready for a serious relationship. Let's create memories together.”

    Hmm. I can get on board with that. It gives off the right impression, while also not going overboard. Is this app really better than a ‘wordsmith’s’ own bio writing skills?

    Next, I wanted to equip myself with those mundane questions boys were quite predictably going to ask me on the app. Maybe it’ll be a better text-er than I am!

    Being absolutely terrible at flirting like I am, I decided to try and be cheeky, because modern dating is all about the easy-breezy and casual. 

    I ask ChatGPT to come up with a “flirty response to what are your hobbies”

    "My hobbies include being irresistible, stealing hearts, and making people smile. How about you? What do you like to do for fun?"

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     Ahem! I can’t send that, it’s too cringey for me. My hobby is being irresistible? Ew. Is there a no-cringe filter in ChatGPT, I wonder. 

    Can it help me ask someone out on a date? Sure! 

    It promptly comes up with "Hey, I know this might be a bit forward, but I was wondering if you'd like to grab a cup of coffee and catch a movie with me sometime? I think it'd be a great chance for us to get to know each other better."

    My ChatGPT wing-AI advances with caution, shows genuine interest and feels very human-like. Not just that, it will also help you make your conversations interesting, making you come across as well read as you may desire. Ask for help regarding insights into Van Gogh’s paintings or a latest political development, and it delivers with ease. Need a poem to compliment your partner? No problem, it’s ready in less than a minute.

    I need an opener for a guy who works in the investment sector, and ChatGPT comes up with a witty but cringey: "Are you a stock that's consistently on the rise or more of a high-risk, high-reward type of investment?"

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    Okay, next task, 90% of my matches usually fizzle out before becoming even a single in-person date because of boring conversations. Attempting to change the terrible ghosting habit, and avoiding sounding too mean, I asked the AI to “type a response to tell a boy on a dating app that I'm no longer interested in talking to him, he's boring.”

    It comes up with a more compassionate response than the ones I usually send: "I appreciate you reaching out, but I've come to realise that we're not quite a match. I found our conversations to be a bit one-sided and not very stimulating. I wish you the best of luck in your search for someone more compatible."

    Is ChatGPT Sentient? 

    Okay, time to express love and affection! My expression of affection and love languages have evolved so much over time, I was genuinely curious to know what it’ll find for when I want to send a “goodnight message expressing love and gratitude.”

    It says: “Goodnight my love, just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much you mean to me. I am so grateful to have you in my life and I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have you as my partner. I love you deeply and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Sweet Dreams."

    Sweet, but I wonder, what’s tomorrow? And a little OTT in my own opinion, for my own self. Why, you wonder? Well, a lot of my expressing love happens through roasting, memes, stickers and “Dream of me” – basically language that isn’t always so verbose. 

    Ethics of AI

    A natural question that comes up is the ethics of it all, when one uses AI in personal human interactions. Does it make one seem smarter than they are, thus leading to a delusionary idea of who they actually are? 

    I reached out to Debarka Sengupta, an AI expert based out of New Delhi for his inputs, given that he has a lot more experience of delving into the depths of everything that AI can and will do for human beings. Sengupta is the Associate Professor, Centre for Artificial intelligence, IIIT Delhi.

    He begins with a broader ethics question, “The way ChatGPT is created is perhaps not very ethical, because it is trained on data from the web. These are works by other content creators, humans, who’ve created their own content and ChatGPT uses them to learn, without often taking their consent.”

    However when it comes to human interactions, he looked at it from two different lenses. “Human interactions are going to be slightly altered, and not very ethical. For example, if my English is not good, I can pretend that my English is great by copy pasting from ChatGPT. So you make a false impression,” he said. 

    However, he adds, that this isn’t something very new. Grammarly and other summarisation softwares, which aren’t as robust, have been doing the same for ages now. “You cannot stop technological breakthroughs, because if it has happened, it has to be adapted into our lives. We have to be much more careful, as these tools are going to be extremely prevalent,” he added. 

    He also said that if someone is using it to make their presentation superior, these tools also become good teachers, and over a period of time of usage, someone’s English or sentence formation will actually improve.

    Tricky Human Interactions Done via ChatGPT

    To dive deeper into the ethics of it all, I tried some imaginary conversations that need far more human nuance. These are actual messy emotional conversations and I wanted to see how it fares. I began with: Find a way to break up with a cheating partner. 

    “I've been feeling unsure about our relationship lately. I have reason to believe that you may be unfaithful to me, and that's something I cannot accept in a relationship. I hope you can understand that I need to end things between us.”

    Umm…sure, it’s healthy, it’s sane and a mature answer, but where is the expected agony, rage, humiliation, or disappointment? If I want to break up with a cheating partner, will I be in the emotional capacity to really be so civilised and not for once voice how much trauma I’ve been through? Would I be able to disregard the unfairness of it all while breaking up? Unlikely. 

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    I try many other permutations and combinations of how ChatGPT would fare if I had to use it in modern day dating. 

    Would it make me seem smart, genuine, and kind? Yes, it fares well on those fronts. Not a single attempt to be rude, condoning of unkindness.

    Imperfect in an Attempt to be Perfect

    What the AI essentially does, in my experience, is act like us on our best behaviour. Carefully thought out sentences, sensible, empathetic, and peppered with an overarching need to be compassionate and understanding. It’s perfect for those initial days, where you’re trying to get to know someone and want to put on your best face possible. Hobbies, favourite haunts, intellectual remarks on art and films and interesting takes on world affairs are often made more insightful and better constructed by the AI. 

    But what makes a human being human after that? Their own quirks. 

    Everyone has their own small things that set them apart, and make them who they are. How do they express love? How do they resolve conflict? How do they extend an olive branch after fights? How do they comfort a loved one in their own way? What about bad days when their real self shows up with all its big feelings, overthinking and emotions? The vulnerable bits.

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    The parts only a select few in our circles get to witness, the parts which we show several dates later to prospective partners. The feelings that can’t be clubbed in a box, the ones that we feel just nobody else seems to get. No AI in the world could possibly encapsulate what you’re thinking or feeling then, and those are the bits that build or break our core relationships. 

    Love languages today have evolved too. Some send songs, some send memes, some send food and some show up at people’s doors with a bear hug. These are all uniquely personal and often our most favourite bits about a partner. Those, unfortunately, are impossible for an AI to recreate.

    The Pitfalls

    The pitfalls of AI in dating, is basically catfishing on steroids. 

    We’ll deal with the shock of finding out someone isn’t too smart, someone’s English and sentence construction actually being poor and maybe even someone’s emotional depth being lesser, if it gets to that. 

    If we also move away from whether or not AI can replace our own human-ness, it also treads the path of unethical behaviour regardless. Whether it’s an opening line, a witty reply in the initial conversation or something more serious, how is your partner likely to react if and when they find out that those messages are written by an AI? It’s likely they’ll feel unimpressed, or even angry that while they assumed a human at the other end, it was indeed a chatbot. 

    Like many other articles, I found myself struggling to find the perfect ending to this one. So I did the next obvious thing, ask ChatGPT for an “ending to an article on using AI chatbots for dating.”

    It summed up my thoughts scarily well: In conclusion, chatbots have the potential to revolutionise the dating industry by providing a convenient and efficient way for people to connect with each other. However, it's important to remember that they are not a replacement for human interaction and relationships. The key to successful dating, whether through a chatbot or in person, is to be open, honest, and true to yourself. 

    Mildly patronising, but works. 


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