subscribe: Daily Newsletter

 

Delving into the data behind dating

1 comment

Can data ever really replace chemistry? In this article, Sekete Patrick Maphopha, chief technology officer and technology evangelist at NetApp Africa, examines whether it can.
There are an estimated 1 000 dating sites currently operating in South Africa – some of them stating membership numbers of up to several million.
There is no doubt that the modern world and social norms have shifted, such that online and in-app algorithms are now an acceptable – and often encouraged – way to meet a future partner. It is user data that drives the success of these matches, helping to find that ideal partner, and this data has driven a genuine shift in modern dating habits.
How can these dating sites ensure that they are managing and using this data in the best ways possible, as well as ensuring that it’s properly protected? Finally, what does the valuable currency of personal data mean for social norms now and in future?
Each online and app-based dating service attempts to differentiate itself from the competition to tap into one of the many lucrative markets available in this space. Whether they are targeting the young, the old, the professional elite or a specific religion, there is one thing every service has in common.
They all use a series of algorithms to analyse each user’s data, to make the best possible matches, based on demographics and shared interests.

Safety comes first when searching for your date with destiny
Data security should also be considered by dating sites. The good news is that there are legal bodies in place that regulate how companies handle users’ data. Companies collecting and processing data must implement technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security that is appropriate to the risks represented by the processing taking place and the nature of the data in question.
These regulations will soon be made more stringent with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development publishing a revised 2017 draft of the Cyber Security Bill, which will only be introduced to Parliament in the next few weeks.
The Bill aims to give South Africa a co-ordinated approach to cyber security, and puts in place measures to effectively deal with cyber-crime and address aspects relating to cyber security. The department further describes the Bill as a tool to address the current shortcomings in South Africa law and facilitate the effective prosecution of cybercrimes. NetApp has storage security solutions which help prevent unauthorised modification or disclosure of data stored which would be ideal in this scenario.

The chemistry of compliance
For dating sites, it’s going to be vital to ensure that they are compliant and looking after user data correctly. These penalties would be nonsensical and something companies should avoid at all cost. For dating apps and websites – just like any other business – this means having an effective data privacy programme and data management practice in place.
Whether they store user data on premise or with an external private or public cloud provider, they should assess and reassure customers that data is collected, processed, accessed, shared, stored, transferred and secured in accordance with all laws and regulations, keeping them safe and ultimately allowing them to eradicate their data, should they be ready to end their online dating days.
The NetApp ONTAP storage operating system is one such example, and can be used across cloud and on-premises infrastructure to create a data fabric that acts as a single system, meaning that data is more easily managed and controlled.
There is definitely some truth that these dating sites reduce the number of frogs you have to kiss before you meet Mr or Ms Right, but do they really do more than this? Can they truly help you find The One? For all the people that tell you that online and app-based dating is a waste of time, there are plenty more that will tell you they are now happily settled or married as a result.
Thanks to a sophisticated mixture of psychological profiling, data, algorithms and marketing, the online dating industry in South Africa is worth about R90-million. As long as all of the data it produces can be properly managed and secured, there’s no reason why the dating industry can’t continue to be as successful as its happily-ever-after matches, complementing chemistry, rather than negating it.

  • Please notice:
    The 3 milestone discoveries of the 2001 – 2010 decade for Theories of Romantic Relationships Development are:
    I) Several studies showing contraceptive pills users make different mate choices, on average, compared to non-users. “Only short-term but not long-term partner preferences tend to vary with the menstrual cycle”
    II) People often report partner preferences that are not compatible with their choices in real life. (Behavioural recommender systems or other system that learns your preferences are useless)
    III) What is important in attracting people to one another may not be important in making couples happy. Compatibility is all about a high level on personality similarity between prospective mates for long term mating with commitment.

    The key to long-lasting romance: COMPATIBILITY is exactly STRICT PERSONALITY SIMILARITY and not “meet other people with similar interests”.

    WorldWide, there are over 5,000 -five thousand- online dating sites
    but no one is using the 16PF5 (or similar) to assess personality of its members!
    but no one calculates similarity with a quantized pattern comparison method!
    but no one can show Compatibility Distribution Curves to each and every of its members!
    but no one is scientifically proven! No actual online dating site is “scientifically proven” because no one can prove its matching algorithm can match prospective partners who will have more stable and satisfying relationships -and very low divorce rates- than couples matched by chance, astrological destiny, personal preferences, searching on one’s own, or other technique as the control group in a peer reviewed Scientific Paper for the majority (over 90%) of its members.
    but no one can show you a list of compatible persons like this:
    ( for a prospective male customer / sample but calculated with real values)
    “Over 1,000,000 million women database, here is the list of the 12 more compatible with you. Notice that woman#1 is the most compatible with you but she could be more compatible with other men right now.
    woman#01 is 95.58476277% compatible
    woman#02 is 95.56224356% compatible
    woman#03 is 95.52998273% compatible
    woman#04 is 94.18354278% compatible
    woman#05 is 93.00453871% compatible
    woman#06 is 93.00007524% compatible
    woman#07 is 92.99738452% compatible
    woman#08 is 92.37945551% compatible
    woman#09 is 92.29779173% compatible
    woman#10 is 92.27114287% compatible
    woman#11 is 92.19515551% compatible
    woman#12 is 92.12249558% compatible”

    The Online Dating Industry does not need a 10% improvement, a 50% improvement or a 100% improvement. It does need “a 100 times better improvement”
    The only way to revolutionize the Online Dating Industry is using the 16PF5 normative personality test, available in different languages to assess personality of members, or a proprietary test with exactly the same traits of the 16PF5 and expressing compatibility with eight decimals (needs a quantized pattern comparison method, part of pattern recognition by cross-correlation, to calculate similarity between prospective mates.)
    High precision in matching algorithms is precisely the key to open the door and leave the infancy of compatibility testing.

    Without offering the NORMATIVE 16PF5 (or similar test measuring exactly the 16 personality factors) for serious dating, it will be impossible to innovate and revolutionize the Online Dating Industry

    All other proposals are NOISE, of course, and perform as placebo.

    Regards,
    Fernando Ardenghi.
    Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    ardenghifer AT gmail DOT com