Article cupids_bow

Published on February 28th, 2014 | by Dan Walsh

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Love at First Hack

Love is a many splendored, sometimes frustrating thing.

Especially when you don’t have it. The Western World is enamored with the idea of soul mates and love at first sight, but do these concepts hold up in the age of “big data”? If your soulmate is truly out there somewhere, and most likely using the internet, why not just program a few bots to troll the interwebs like a swarm of virtual cupids?

That’s exactly what mathematician Chris McKinlay did when he hacked OkCupid to find the love of his life. Why waste all that time trying to meet people at bars when you can automatically write an optimized profile, identify and contact high ranking matches, and setup first dates?

“I think that what I did is just a slightly more algorithmic, large-scale, and machine-learning-based version of what everyone does on the site,” McKinlay says. Everyone tries to create an optimal profile—he just had the data to engineer one.

Despite the nerdy trappings, McKinlay’s story is wild ride through LA’s digital dating scene. What struck me the most was that even with an entire army of robot matchmakers he still had to endure 88 first dates before he found his future wife. Even Adam Sandler would blush at those odds.

Read: How To Hack OkCupid

Image: Darwin Bell

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3 Responses to Love at First Hack

  1. Lauren says:

    This is cool! I heard a similar story on NPR’s Planet Money, but more from an economic perspective. I think it took the reporter featured, Lisa Chow, around fifty first dates to meet her spouse. What an interesting way to do it!

    Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/01/29/268422490/episode-513-dear-economist-i-need-a-date

  2. Shawn Summers says:

    I think I need Chris McKinlay’s help with my search of true love. lol

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