Something awful dating

“I remember thinking, at least we’re meeting for coffee and not some fancy dinner,” she said.

Seventeen years later, two Stanford classmates, Sophia Sterling-Angus and Liam Mc Gregor, landed on a similar concept while taking an economics class on market design.

They’d seen how overwhelming choice impacted their classmates’ love lives and felt certain it led to “worse outcomes.” “Tinder’s huge innovation was that they eliminated rejection, but they introduced massive search costs,” Mc Gregor explained.

They’ve run the experiment two years in a row, and last year, 7,600 students participated: 4,600 at Stanford, or just over half the undergraduate population, and 3,000 at Oxford, which the creators chose as a second location because Sterling-Angus had studied abroad there.

“There were videos on Snapchat of people freaking out in their freshman dorms, just screaming,” Sterling-Angus said.

The idea was to match people not based solely on similarities (unless that’s what a participant values in a relationship), but on complex compatibility questions.

Each person would fill out a detailed survey, and the algorithm would compare their responses to everyone else’s, using a learned compatibility model to assign a “compatibility score.” It then made the best one-to-one pairings possible — giving each person the best match it could — while also doing the same for everyone else.And while “marriage pacts” have probably long been informally invoked, they’d never been powered by an algorithm.What started as Sterling-Angus and Mc Gregor’s minor class project quickly became a viral phenomenon on campus.Now there was a person sitting down across from her, and she felt both excited and anxious.The quiz that had brought them together was part of a multi-year study called the Marriage Pact, created by two Stanford students.If you’re spending 50 years with someone, I think you get past their height.” The pair quickly realized that selling long-term partnership to college students wouldn’t work.

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