This Guy Used ChatGPT to Talk to 5,000 Women on Tinder and Met His Wife

Tinder can be a hard place to find love, especially without an AI assistant.

When Aleksandr Zhadan got out of his last relationship in 2021, he started looking for a girlfriend in Moscow the old-fashioned way: swiping through Tinder. He sank hours into sending out likes, messaging, and going on dates which all went nowhere. So he decided to program OpenAI’s GPT-2 to be his dating assistant. His program conversed with 5,239 women on Tinder, scheduling him over 100 dates, and ultimately finding his wife.

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“I really understand dating apps can be hard and embarrassing,” Zhadan told Gizmodo. After he heard about ChatGPT, he decided to use it to help break the ice.

The program sounded like him, understood his interests, and could even schedule in-person dates through his Google Calendar. Zhadan trained his program to send likes to women who matched his preferences. He also filtered out profiles with photos of alcohol, and zodiac signs in their biographies, among other nuances he doesn’t find attractive.

The early version could send messages and hold a conversation, but it had bugs at first. In one instance, ChatGPT asked a woman to “go for a long walk in the woods” in the first few messages. In another, ChatGPT scheduled Zhadan for a date and promised he would bring chocolate and flowers. When Zhadan arrived empty-handed, unaware of the promise his digital assistant had made, she soured on him. He gradually updated his project as OpenAI released GPT-3, 3.5, and 4, and it slowly became a more thoughtful lover.

Narrowing 5,000 Women to One

Zhadan’s dating assistant narrowed down 5,000 options to just one woman, Karina Vyalshakaeva. The couple matched with each other in December 2022, and Vyalshakaeva says she was speaking with ChatGPT for the first few months of the relationship.

After a few in-person dates with Vyalshakaeva, Zhadan paused ChatGPT from speaking with other women on Tinder. The relationship ventured offline, and the couple moved in together shortly after in 2023.

The happy couple who met through ChatGPT in their home.
Photo: Aleksandr Zhadan

Zhadan updated his program one last time to become his personal dating guru. Over time, ChatGPT spoke less and less with Vyalshakaeva, and Zhadan became the primary person speaking. The program already understood all of Zhadan’s dating preferences and shortcomings, so it was a useful tool in making him a better partner.

“At some point, the project wrote me a recommendation that maybe it’s time to propose to Karina,” Zhadan said.

He originally thought his AI project was hallucinating—he never said he wanted to get married—but then he understood.

“Karina said she wanted to go to a wedding, but ChatGPT thought she’d prefer attending her own,” he said. “I took the advice, and she said yes.”

Vyalshakaeva learned about the project a few months into the relationship. She wasn’t angry when she learned her fianceé had been using ChatGPT to talk to her, just shocked. She says that initial conversations on Tinder are mostly about learning about a potential partner’s interests, hopes, and maybe their philosophies. Her future husband’s chatbot did perfectly fine at communicating this early on.

“He spent a lot of time personalizing these prompts so, for me, it’s okay when used in a rational way,” said Vyalshakaeva in an interview, noting that Zhadan’s assistant was especially practical when he was busy. “I think the most important thing is our real-life connection, which is great.”

Romance May Never Be The Same

Zhadan is not offering this product to others at this time, mostly because it’s very expensive to operate—he spent thousands on this program. However, his fianceé says AI dating assistants could be a great tool for others, as long as people are genuine about what they’re looking for.

“I think that you really need to understand your goals,” said Vyalshakaeva. “Aleksandr wanted to find a girlfriend, and he programmed ChatGPT with very personalized information. If ChatGPT and your real-life speech are saying different things, there will be problems.”

Writing pickup lines for dating apps is notoriously difficult, and at times, it’s downright cringe-y. Using ChatGPT for Tinder and Hinge is becoming increasingly popular; OpenAI’s GPT Store has been flooded with simpler versions of Zhadan’s chatbot. But is a relationship less meaningful, or less real, if it was created with ChatGPT?

“I’m in favor of making the dating process more efficient and truncating the time between matching and meeting in person,” said Damona Hoffman, a certified dating coach and author of a new book about realistic dating expectations F the Fairy Tale, in an interview.

“If you can program a tool to work as your dating assistant and get you to real human connection faster, that feels more authentic than trying to suss out who someone is in a never-ending text thread,” said Hoffman.

Despite the vote of confidence, Tinder may have a problem on its hands. Dating apps don’t necessarily want AI chatbots posing as humans on their platforms, however, the company doesn’t explicitly rule them out.

A spokesperson for Tinder directed Gizmodo to Match Group’s “AI Principles” which state the company is “developing features that enhance individual expression and the authenticity of human connections.” Match Group does not explicitly ban AI programs, though the app was deactivated in Russia shortly after Zhadan halted other Tinder conversations.

At first glance, using ChatGPT to meet your spouse can sound cold and informal. However, Zhadan and Vyalshakaeva created a warm and loving relationship through AI, and there’s no certainty they would have found each other without it. Vyalshakaeva said the couple will be using ChatGPT to help plan the wedding.

via Gizmodo

February 7, 2024 at 07:06AM

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