At the risk of doing that thing where you compare technology intersecting with society in new and kind of unsettling ways to something you might see in an episode of Black Mirror – Tinder boss Sean Rad (great name) has a vision for the future of the app that, quite frankly, sounds a bit Black Mirror.
Rad was speaking at the tech conference Start-Up Grind, where he discussed how Tinder could evolve beyond ceaseless swiping for matches. He talked about Siri, the iPhone’s robot assistant and well-documented Game of Thrones fan, who Rad thinks could potentially become a sort of digital wingman. If there’s someone in the area who has taken a keen liking to the picture of you affectionately touching noses with a french bulldog (a surefire winner in the match department, we’re told) and shares your passion for inaccessible experimental jazz, then Siri can hook you up.
Here’s Sean: “In five years time, Tinder might be so good, you might be like “Hey [Apple voice assistant] Siri, what’s happening tonight?’
“And Tinder might pop up and say 'There’s someone down the street you might be attracted to. She’s also attracted to you. She’s free tomorrow night. We know you both like the same band, and it’s playing - would you like us to buy you tickets?’… and you have a match.”
It gets weirder still. Rad also commented on the potential of Augmented Reality (AR), the tech used to hunt Pikachus outside Morrisons in Pokemon Go. Picture it: You walk into a busy after-party and with a quick wave of your phone Tinder can tip you off about who is and isn’t single. Awkward conversations with people that cite two Adam Sandler movies as their all-time favourites become totally avoidable. If that all sounds slightly terrifying, that’s because it is.
"That will definitely impact dating,” Rad added. "You can imagine how, with augmented reality, that experience could happen in the room, in real time. The impact is profound as these devices get closer to your senses, to your eyes, to your experiences.”