Match.com has added new skills to the Amazon Echo virtual assistant
Stay up to date on dating.
Confiding in a close friend for dating advice is so 2017. A new partnership between Match.com and Amazon Echo called “Match’s First Date What Ifs” has the artificial intelligence bot answering dating-related questions
A description of the free service, which is rated “mature” says, “The new Match skill on Alexa answers all of your “What Ifs” before The First Date so you can go in feeling prepared, confident, and relaxed enough to be yourself and have some fun.”
With more than 40 million Americans using online dating services, it’s inevitable that daters will come up with a multitude of questions about what to do and how to behave in order to ensure a successful first date.
Using data from Match’s annual Singles in America survey, the largest survey on singles, which has polled over 35,000 singles for the past seven years on their attitudes towards dating and relationships, Alexa has learned how to respond to common dating inquiries. But does Alexa hold all the right answers? Not necessarily.
When asked “What if they want to have sex on the first date?” Alexa may respond, “Only if you must, or they’re really hot.” Another response to the same question is “If you do too, do them. If you don’t, do you.” It’s answers like these that has some people questioning Alexa’s common sense and understanding of consent. However, Match’s survey suggests that millennials are 48% more likely to sleep with someone right away to see if there’s a connection.
Programmed to answer more than 30 dating-related questions, Alexa is unable to respond to the question “What is the definition of consent?” And in an era when Hollywood and other male-dominated industries are facing an uprising against sexual harassment and gender inequality — Alexa’s advice can seem outdated and offensive.
When asked, “What if I want more than one drink?” Alexa answers, “Allow yourself two cocktails if they’re cute. Have six if they’re not.” This can seem conflicting though, because according to the CDC, to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that alcohol be consumed in moderation — with up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Another question Alexa can assist with is “What if I choose the wrong restaurant?” You can expect the answer to be “When in doubt, go for sushi. It will boost your chances of a second date by 170%.”
As for other virtual assistants offering advice that pertains to one’s social life, Google Home has an integration feature with Plenty of Fish that allows users to have their messages read aloud and composes replies for those who find it easier to speak instead of write — but it doesn’t offer a pre-programmed wealth of answers related to specific dating “What Ifs.” For that, folks will have to turn to a trusted pal.
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