Humanity

By 2040, Dating Sites May Let You Touch and Smell a Potential Mate

December 4, 2015 | Kelly Tatera

Artist's impression of holding hands through a digital interface
Photo credit: Don Hankins/flickr (CC by SA 2.0)

Looks like Cupid’s being replaced by a digitized world.

Remember when you had to muster up the courage to ask someone out on a date in person? Researchers speculate that by 2040, this may very well be a thing of the past. As technology continues to take over, dating websites will likely offer a “full-sensory” virtual reality experience, and as for getting married based solely on love? With advancements in genetic research, scientists predict people will begin to match themselves to partners based on their DNA instead of personalities.

The report, produced by a group of masters students at Imperial College London and commissioned by eHarmony, is based on interviews with leading experts across the fields of sociology, technology, anthropology, and biomedicine as well as over 100 years of trend data.

SEE ALSO: Can Science Predict if He or She is “The One?”

After calculating the rate at which data transfer speeds have increased since 1800, the researchers estimate that data will be able to be shared at a rate of 952,000,000,000 bits per second by 2040. At this fast of a rate, the researchers predict dating websites will offer “full-sensory” experiences in the next 25 years, enabling customers to hear, feel, and smell potential partners via virtual reality. Basically, you could meet someone halfway across the world but still experience getting to know them with all of your senses, as if you were on a “real” date.

What’s more, the report suggests that advancements in genetic research will encourage people to consider DNA when choosing a life partner. There are many reasons why you’re attracted to certain people over others, and genetics plays a role in this matching. Plus, the cost of genome sequencing continues to fall, and the report suggests it will only cost about $980 per genome in 2040. This information could provide a quick DNA-based suggestion on whether it’s worth pursuing someone or whether he or she just isn’t a match made in genetic heaven.

So will meeting people organically and working up the courage to go on that first date become obsolete in the next 25 years? Hopefully not. A completely immersive virtual reality dating experience might take away from the value of face-to-face interaction, but hey, at least it would be a step up from Tinder.

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