Business & Tech - 11/07/18

Dating in the Age of Data

Written by Daniel L

Can artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology be the keys to lifelong happiness? Violet Lim, co-founder and CEO of dating app viola.ai, weighs in.

After 13 years at the helm of one of Asia’s largest matchmaking agencies Lunch Actually, Singapore-based Violet Lim is a proven entrepreneur in the dating game. Now, she has set her sights on new and cutting-edge tech with her latest project, an app named Viola.ai. Touting itself as a marriage of artificial intelligence with blockchain security, could this herald the next generation of love-finding that will change the face of dating and relationships forever? Violet sat down with Hive Life to tell us why she thinks so.

Anyone who fires up the Viola.ai app from their smartphone will quickly realise that it’s anything but typical. Harnessing AI to think and act like a human, it’s a program that uses blockchain technology to store digital information across encrypted and secure networks. Think of it as a personal love advisor that works 24/7, using over 1.1 billion data points to guide singles and couples looking to find or improve their relationships.

What this means is that Viola.ai matches singles with others based on criteria unique to each individual. As the app constantly learns on its own, gaining a greater understanding of its users’ habits and behaviour, it can also help couples further along the road in their partnerships by suggesting anniversary gifts and offering relationship advice. Viola.ai works with its community to generate dating and relationship content for every user based on their relationship stage as well as with various merchants to recommend relevant goods, services and content to the right user at the right time.

“The AI that we are building evolves from dating and couple-hood to marriage and ensures that we always serve our users to the best of our ability throughout this process, helping people find love, helping romance blossom, and helping sustain their relationships right till their twilight years,” Violet explains. Once couples decide to tie the knot, Viola.ai will add their marriage to the blockchain, taking said partners off the market while retaining the key features of the app that help spice up their relationship and add lifelong customer value.

Despite the merits of online dating, scams that rob people of both money and emotions have emerged as a major hurdle, giving dating apps a bad rep. Besides losing thousands, sometimes millions to con artists, victims have also had their privacy violated, data tampered with and identities stolen. Viola.ai proposes to act as the antithesis to all that. “Viola.ai is the next logical step in a love industry that is viewed with scepticism due to romantic scams, catfishing, hookup culture and also increasing relationship challenges,” Violet emphasises. Its identity verification system scans users’ photos and screens their profiles against known social media platforms, weeding out scammers whilst rebuilding a system of trust for users. Its decentralised relationship registry also uses blockchain to maintain high security and authenticity for members, preventing hackers from gaining access to valuable data.

As with any new dating platform that emerges, Viola.ai has its fair share of critics. Detractors claim that AI and blockchain are making the art of love too artificial for its own good. But Violet begs to differ: “I think once we find love, we won’t really care how we got there. We’ll just behappy that we found someone to share our lives with. And, If the technology can help, why not use it to maximise our chances?” And, whilst technological breakthroughs have helped narrow down options, she is of the opinion that traditional dating won’t become extinct. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dating… If anything, digitisation impacts positively because it reduces the overall stigma of using a third-party to help in finding love,” she maintains. “Whether it’s through dating apps, online dating or offline matchmaking, singles nowadays are more open and it’s becoming more of a norm.”

Of course, no amount of digitalisation can predict or replace connection and chemistry. “When you meet in person, you are not just another image to be swiped right or left on. You are not just another pixel manipulated to look attractive,” Violet states. “Seek out opportunities for face to face encounters. Because real love, real connection, happens offline.”

Most Popular Posts

The Piratas of Hong Kong

Art & Culture

Asia’s Promethean Creators

Style & Design

In the Shoes of Taipei’s Shoemaker

Style & Design

Hong Kong: A Tailor’s Story

Art & Culture, Style & Design