Bumble CEO Predicts AI Dating Coach Will Teach You How to Flirt

Whitney Wolfe Herd envisions dating technology as a cure to America’s loneliness epidemic.

(Bloomberg) — There are many predictions about our AI future that veer into Black Mirror territory, but perhaps the most unsettling is how artificial intelligence could change the nature of relationships. Will we fall in love with our computers? Will children prefer their AI tutors to human ones?

Whatever happens, people will probably still seek the company of other people. And technology might be able to help. For one, AI could make singles better at courtship, according to Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and chief executive officer of one of the most popular dating apps, Bumble Inc.

“The average US single adult doesn’t date because they don’t know how to flirt, or they’re scared they don’t know how,” Wolfe Herd said on this week’s episode of The Circuit With Emily Chang. “What if you could leverage the chatbot to instill confidence, to help someone feel really secure before they go and talk to a bunch of people that they don’t know?”

Humanity could use some assistance. The US Surgeon General declared loneliness an epidemic, with more than half of adults reporting feelings of loneliness. Most people under 30 have tried online dating, but a survey from Bumble rival’s Match Group Inc. found people are burning out on dating app use.

Wolfe Herd is thinking a lot about how technology can make a difference. For example, AI could improve the quality of matches by, as she put it, “supercharging fate.” She’s also seeking to help people not just find romantic partners but platonic ones, too. Bumble recently released a separate app called BFF to find friends.

“We’re really building something that no one’s built before,” Wolfe Herd said. “We’re building an entire relationship business.”

This episode of The Circuit With Emily Chang premieres Thursday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m. in New York on the Bloomberg app and Bloomberg.com and on Bloomberg Television at 10 p.m. Check out The Circuit podcast for extended conversations.

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