How app-dating accelerated the matching problem
Such an interesting post. I see that in my niece. She’s in her mid twenties not bad looking but overweight. She’s always complaining about the guys on the dating apps, not tall enough, not handsome enough, not wealthy enough, not educated enough. I begged her to look beyond the superficial, but she wouldn’t. She showed me some of the pictures of the guys that she trashes as ugly and they look like pretty normal guys to me. The attractive, wealthy guys she’s interested are not interested in her. She is not dating & I’ve warned her that if she continues being this critical she will end up single.
Apps have ruined dating.
I had an idea that an app that builds your profile based on what you’re doing and aspire and planning to do that would match you with people living similar lifestyles.
Going to yoga, watching succession, planning a trip to whatever. Coffee snob, watching baseball, foody, etc
Location data and photos could prove it’s not BS but I’m sure someone could figure how to hack that
The point you (and others who focus on these numbers) are missing is that men greatly outnumber women on the apps.
The "top 78 percent of women" pool is probably still smaller in absolute size than the "top 20 percent of men" pool in the population you're talking about.
Do you have a source for the “90% of swipes by women are for men over 6’0” stat? I tried searching for source and was unable to find any. That seems fairly implausible given that only about 12% of men are over 6’0”. This tweet claims that when women on bumble use search filters, about 30% of them include men 5”10’.
Erik, you recognize that "superficial qualities rise to the top" on dating apps and that app behavior "does not reflect the importance women place on height in the real world" but you fail to reach the logical conclusion for a solution - leveraging tech to match people on their actual preferences.
You are absolutely right that women's preferences become completely out of whack when forced to conform to a very narrow set of filters (looks, age height, politics) and that men then default to filtering for short-term mates rather than long-term.
The solution is using natural language processing and computer vision to capture who someone is, what actually matters to them in a partner, and then finding the most optimal human puzzle pieces that fit together. Sans the tech, this is the process that the high-end matchmakers that your VC and exited founder friends use today, their services just aren't accessible to the average person yet.
Women's preferences are quite unique and the long-tail is massive. The problem with dating apps is they don't let women filter on the things that truly matter to them as individuals.
'Women only date across and up status hierarchies." This is generally true, but certainly not an iron rule and the more you match women with men who meet the other things they're looking for (e.g. humor, kindness, intelligence, athleticism, interests, values, hobbies, personality type, etc.) the more likely they'll be to override the 'simple filters'.
44% of offered matches get "swiped right on" by women on Keeper, because our system is setup to make matches that only match 100% of a woman's open-ended stated preferences. Unlike dating apps, our gender ratio is almost exactly 50-50 because when you build a product with the long-term in mind, each sex wants that equally (which is what the research predicts).
The solution is coming.
I believe polyamory can also have the effect of taking the pressure off of women to find that "100% perfect" guy they are after (and maybe give others a chance.)
When my partner and I started dating 3ish years ago, he wasn't sure he would be ready to have kids when I needed him too (I was 31 and he was 27). But I thought hey, we're non-monogamous, so let's keep dating anyway. I can still meet others while we're together. Low and behold, cut to today, and we are expecting our first baby together in January :). We;re both very happy (and still non-monogamous).
Scott Alexander wrote that the evidence doesn't seem to match the hypergamy hypothesis:
- Insights from 2,961 First Dates: https://dkras.substack.com/p/sex-differences-attractiveness-and
- On the Future of Dating: https://dkras.substack.com/p/thoughts-on-the-future-of-dating
I feel like we (single men and women), don't have enough time to figure things out in this changing dating environment, before we've run out of runway. There's like a prime 15-year window (from like post-college 22 years old to 37) to do it all; find your match, be fertile, have kids, build up the income to be a good match, and more. Then factor in life changes, and you've cut that window even further (going back to school, career changes, illness, disease, depression, recessions, pandemic). People on apps want to explore as much as possible, while simultaneously marrying someone, it's conflicting free for all.
The apps remind me of food ordering apps. If that's your primary way of finding food (or dates), then you're at the mercy of the apps. Modern daters could learn the dating skills of past, of "hunting and cooking your own food" lol.
I think about this sometimes in relation to Balajis network state idea. If you wanted to truly find your “soul mate”, why are you limiting it to a 15 mile radius of your geographical location? I get it, we all have jobs and friends and homes and hobbies IRL, but if you found the absolute perfect match but they lived 750 miles away, and you could meet them digitally/holographically in the metaverse or on the Vision Pro, wouldn’t one of them up-end their life to make it work? Or do you have a cloud relationship with some sort of black mirror technology to supplement the physical demands?
That means leaning even further in to app culture, but I fear that the cat is too far out of the bag in terms of hypergamy and preference seeking. The same way that dopamine/phone addiction is too far gone, which is probably the root cause of the dating app issue anyways. To peel back hypergamy you have to peel back social media and then smart phones and then digital life in general. It’s an immense uphill battle.
Good post. The stats alone, without even considering the particularities of the demands on each side, paint a dismal picture.
This is not just a lifestyle issue, but a civilizational one, especially considering the profile of people who reproduce (who, let's put it gently, will not be the ones to maintain a complex society up and running). So it's a big problem, which requires big solutions.
We could start with sex segregation, which was the norm in basically all of history prior to the 1960s, when, coincidentally, we stopped producing men of geniuses. This would revive love, and make more robust educated men. And, quite frankly anything which makes men outcompete women in status and economically is part of the solution. The liberals answer to this is "let's die out and import massive amount of 'migrants' ". No thanks.
Folks not having babies is a bigger problem than unaligned AGI. It's the biggest problem from the perspective of accelerating humanity out of the gravity well of our current prosperity local maxima (centralized power always turns prosperity from tech innovation into stagnation/degrowth + moral regression, ie. WEF, ADL, Greta).
Crashing Total Fertility Rate in the smart/educated/prosocial/productive cohorts is the exponential drag on human civilization that dare not speak its name.
Because only smart/educated/prosocial humans can come up with explanations that solve problems and turn scarcity into abundance for everyone. You can have John Von Neumann as a boy in a sailor suit who becomes the fellow that unlocks energy at the heart of an atom. Or you can have a childless Greta Thunberg scolding you for using too many resources. We need more JVNs to accelerate. We need 100 Musk-like innovators with both the cognitive firepower and the pronoia to put a ding in in the Uni.
Bad news: No one seems to know how to get the innovator pool to reproduce.
Good news: Your boy Parsa has a plan based on startups, pushups, game, fam, and group-owned farms..
But first. my baby-making bona fides: father to six sons by three ladies, no marriages, three kids from long-term relationships, two from being donor to an ex, one via adoption. First son conceived at 43, now 11, newborn boy conceived at 54.
The solution is better family formation memes for men and women and better tech for family formation (mating apps vs. dating apps). The solution is NOT traditional marriage (although I love the Keeper team) or trying to cram the feminist mystique genie back in the chattel bottle.
This family formation solution is about has hard as any other novel stranger-to-stranger startup-- no harder a problem than airbnb, uber, or airtm (one of my startup babies). It just needs to be 10x better than dating apps, which is really a low bar since all those apps do is monetize female beauty (w/o sharing upside with ladies), turn 95% of men into porn-addicted incels, and encourage top 5% Chads to never have kids, while sending top 20% attractive ladies to ride the cock/corporate carousel until their fertility drops off a cliff.
I've written about the need for this startup in the context of Balaji's TNS, and am working with my current partner (mama to my two youngest sons) on building the community and product. All family formation innovators are welcome to help us build and earn upside in FAM: https://open.substack.com/pub/timparsa/p/fighting-for-family-formation?r=4gw8s&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web.
How did Hss arrive at this current sorry state where the majority of humans override their evolved biological imperative, the very reason we're all here and for 30K generations prior? And why do I think we can reverse this trend with better tech and better memes?
For starters, let's acknowledge that we are mostly all the descendants of ruthlessly culled winners of the cognitive and physical lottery, the ones who fought to survive and reproduce. Just think back over 30K generations of your ancestors surviving to make babies and see them grow up strong and healthy, over and over.
I say mostly because starting with ag-fueled surplus, the NPC phenotype has spread like kudzu, presumably preceded by the spread of a polygenic set of heritable but mostly deleterious alleles that result in a predisposition to memetic programmability/persuasion, i.e. proclivity to get brainwashed by the current thingism spread by centralized power structures. I don't count NPCs among the winners, more like the free-riders, the useful idiots, the cannon fodder, and current thing amplifiers.
Before ag surplus gave rise to warlords, memelords spread their genes the most, but so did anyone who adopted their memes. The dankness, ie. explanations and ideas conferring survivor benefit in the ancestral environment, made gigachads of many-- the genes rode the memes. The weak and the slow to adapt and spread dank memes were mostly culled. The % of NPCs in the ancestral Dunbar number was very low relative to today's 25% (h/t Scott Adams on the 25% who always choose the regime-affirming answer in a poll). There used to be significant downward pressure on the spread of NPC genes since they conferred little benefit, because few bothered to try to persuade and program others vs. adopting and implementing, i.e. there was a lot more doing than talking about doing in the ancestral environment. Compare to today where the memelord and chadtastic meme adaptooors are a shrinking % compared to the current thing NPCs.
Post ag surplus gave rise to warlords and spread of genes by might is right. There were fewer winners, less fun, more drudgery, less hygiene, more illness, and all the fun meme inspiring gods were eliminated by one big daddy obey me or else deity that just so happened to align/echo the warlord's dominance. A priest class of power-hungry pervs was stood up by the warlords to separate the sinners from the saints and live in luxury.
Monotheism. Monogamy. Money. More NPCs. These are all downstream from warlords and their violence displacing memelords and their dankness. You could become a soldier, a courtesan, a counselor, or a pervy priest, but it was all very zero-sum vs. the positive sum of good explanations solving problems and creating abundance, ie. the memlord/adaptooor/gigachad complex.
Memelords still had a place, but in service of the warlords, which is why Gengis Khan was so good at spreading his genes, but how many descendants can the guy who invented the stirrup claim? We don't know because they weren't comparable to the lord of the hoard, the captain of the the Kipchat Khanate.
So we got here as victims of our own tech innovation (i.e. dankness) which gave us Ag and surplus, and by putting too much trust in centralized power to protect and provide, which gave us warlords concentrating wealth and reproductive sexual opportunities, while imposing biodyamic-defying and pseudo-stabilizing memes like monotheism, marriage, monogamy, easily debased money on the hoi polloi. Everyone being a tinkerer, builder, creator gave way to just a few doing that in cloistered environments under warlord dominion-- PG touches on this point in many essays including Heresy and The Four Quadrants of Conformism. Founder and Startup formation has reignited the memelord fire in many, but few have connected that to making more and better beautiful babies.
Lucky for all of you parsa has it figured out.
All the fellows need to do is build startups, do pushups/pullups/situps/dipups/squatups, and learn game. That takes care of the wealth, strength, and ZFG confidence that triggers the hindbrain tingles of female hypergamy. Boxes checked, so to speak.
All the ladies need to do is stop giving the milk away for free, find themselves a memelord or gigachad meme adaptoooor, or a proto version of either, and get knocked up. Forget marriage, prioritize the baby-making. Get off the coitus carousel. Get in early on the baby bonanza.
Remember that Hss had 30,000 generations of memelord-driven gene spread, followed by 250 of ag-powered warlord dominance, and 1.5 gens of web-enabled return to our memelord roots. We need to accelerate the understanding that both ethical wealth creation and baby making is now possible, (h/t NR) like never before in the Hss history. More on Airchat about this here: https://www.getairchat.com/bmeunier/benoitsmindmaze?r=8d18bf4f-8964-4135-9932-726a5e1f37be
are the numbers in this post based on actual data, or just made up numbers that sound reasonable?
5) An increase in dishonesty on dating apps.
Acknowledging that they are already dishonest, the lying will increase to the point of being a useless method of finding a match. Apps may try to vet peoples claims but that will probably price them out of the market.
The happily married religious folk with lots of kids will be in a demographic death match with the sluts and slut-jerk males just wanting sex and occasionally having an unwanted or inconvenient kid. Which the govt will subsidize but Uncle Sugar makes a lousy father.