AI or Not

    Online Dating: Real Love with AI Detection

    GenAI in online dating has created fake profile images and cat fishing at scale. Can users, and the dating apps, use AI Detection to protect online love IRL?

    Online Dating: Real Love with AI Detection

    Since the onset of online dating apps, we've gone to the gym to get fit and went to picturesque locations all for that perfect profile pic that screams 'Swipe Right!'

    Now, all it takes is a couple of keystrokes.

    Three in ten Americans have used an online dating app, more than normalizing it as a common answer to the inevitable question 'So, how did you 2 meet?' Now, however, showing off ones best side takes no effort with the emergence of generative AI. With just a few prompts, users can generate highly realistic and flattering images, crafting an idealized online version of themselves. The allure of presenting an unrealistic, and perfect, version of oneself is not new, especially in social media. However, now the temptation to present an embellished or even made up persona is stronger than ever.

    The misuse of AI in online dating has brought on a level of superficiality far beyond what the Kardashians could have. Appearances can be sculpted to perfection, distorting expectations and harming real, genuine human connection. Far gone are the days of approaching a real person at a bar or party.

    In addition to the increased rate of disappointing dates, users have to look out for scams, catfishing, and misrepresentation of age with AI in online dating.

    How Users are Using AI with Dating Apps

    Almost a quarter (23%) of Americans admitted to using AI in their online dating escapades. Whether someone is making a new profile pic or ChatGPT-ing (can that be a verb now?) Valentines Day poems en masse, the temptation has been too great.

    Missed the gym last week, or even for the past 3 years? No worries, AI has you covered.

    Don't have any pictures showing your adventures in Europe or Vegas? Not a problem, AI can help.

    No incredibly engaging life backstory? One prompt away from changing that.

    No wit or rizz in your messages? Generative AI is the new Shakespeare of online pickup lines.

    The allure of AI-generated content is irresistible for online dating. With a few prompts, users can create a meticulously crafted persona, tailored to their perceived ideals of attractiveness and desirability. Gone are the days of awkward selfies. Everything they want to be is now a prompt away.

    When every image is a masterpiece in prompt engineering, not photography or adventure, how can one truly connect with the person behind the pixels? The very essence of online dating – the search for genuine compatibility, connection and dare we say, Love – is threatened by AI-generated content.

    The question then becomes is this an enhancement or full blown deception? More than ever before, people will be triple checking the profile picture they swiped right on against the person standing in front of them.

    The Dark Side of AI in Online Dating

    The misuse of AI in generating profile pictures

    First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to online dating. The couple of seconds a potential spouse spends looking at your profile can be the difference between happily ever after or a swipe left.

    Profile pictures, the cornerstone of first impressions on dating platforms, are now very questionable. Users can't tell if these images are real or not. Users can generate images that depict themselves in better physical shape, in exotic locations, or even in entirely different personas. Matches based on AI-generated images can lead to disappointment, mistrust, and a sense of betrayal with both the dating site they are using and the person who faked themselves.

    The consequences of this can be far-reaching, from emotional distress and broken trust in dating or even potential safety concerns.

    As AI technology continues to advance, the responsibility falls upon platforms to update their trust & safety tools to ensure protection of their platform and, most importantly, their users.

    User age verification challenges during onboarding

    The saying of 'a picture is worth a thousand words' will be questioned with every hint of doubt of whether something is AI or Not.

    AI's ability to generate images and create synthetic personal information has made it increasingly difficult for dating apps to accurately verify the ages of their users. Individuals can now use AI to alter their appearance, making themselves look older or younger, thereby bypassing age restrictions with alarming ease. This misuse not only violates platform policies but also poses serious safety and ethical concerns, particularly when minors gain access to adult dating platforms. And how about mature, senior dating sites? Looks can be deceiving.

    The challenge doesn't stop with user images. AI-generated identity documents, such as IDs or passports, can be created with the ease of a fake profile picture.

    The ramifications of these age verification challenges are troublesome, with potential legal implications, reputational damage, and, most importantly, the potential for harm to vulnerable individuals.

    Catfishing and Scams

    Speaking of vulnerable individuals, catfishing just got real.. really hard to detect.

    Catfishing is the creation of a fictitious online persona or fake identity for the purpose of deception. Unsuspecting victims could be tricked into an online romantic relationships. But the ultimate intent is to  commit financial fraud or some kind of scam on the hopeless romantic. Outside from the shame of being a victim to this, there is potential for real financial consequences.

    AI-generated profiles, complete with lifelike images and convincing ChatGPT created backstories, have made it easier for scammers to create entire personas that are entirely fictional. These synthetic identities can engage victims with a level of realism previously unattainable, manipulating emotions and building false relationships to exploit for financial gain. The personal and financial toll on victims can be devastating, with scams ranging from emotional manipulation to outright theft. AI also enables scammers to automate interactions with potential victims on a 1-to-1 basis, scaling their efforts to target multiple individuals simultaneously without losing a beat. This not only increases the efficiency of scams but also their reach.

    Before we give up on online love and delete Tinder and every other dating app from our phones, there could be a way to live a safer dating life online.

    AI Detection for Online Dating Trust & Safety

    All hope is not lost for finding love online. As online dating continues to grow in popularity, the need for effective trust and safety measures becomes increasingly critical. The use of GenAI in the online dating toolkit has introduced new challenges, including the proliferation of fake profiles, catfishing, and scams. To combat these issues and ensure a safe and authentic experience for users, dating platforms, and users, must leverage AI detection technologies.

    If you've ever searched the social profiles of a potential match, may be worth checking if that picture of them with a 6-pack on a beach is indeed real.

    AI Detected Profile Picture

    Users should bring their authentic self to the online dating world. However, as the online dating landscape continues to evolve, AI detection will be a part of the dating tool kit, along with checking social profiles and background checks before meeting someone IRL. Here's to finding love.. with a 100% human!