I have come to think of Tinder as a sort algorithm for the mind. It surfaces individual data entries—which happen to be humans—and asks the user to make a single decision about them: Would you make out with this person? Or, more tamely, would you be friends with this person?
If both minds sort each other’s data entries into the same category, a chat window opens.
The process is efficient, and the computer does everything except make that one, crucial choice. But perhaps that is too much work. Perhaps that single choice can be automated.
The bot, he writes, is “amazingly effective”—so effective he eventually turned it off.
Long’s bot, which he calls Tinderbox, has two steps: a sort phase and a chat phase. First, Tinderbox asks users to sort 60 faces from Tinder into the “yes” or “no” piles. Using the facial-recognition scheme Eigenface, it notes what kind of features users seem to like—attempting, in other words, to distinguish a user’s “type.” Then it goes to work, automatically sorting images from other Tinder users along the parameters it judges important.