AI-assisted speed-dating? It’s possible on May 6 and 7

On May 6 and 7, the campus will host a speed-dating evening with a special twist: the matchmaking will be done by means of artificial intelligence. Students will have twenty rounds to look for a potential partner. Afterwards, their selections will be compared to those of the AI model.

photo iStock | Rendobjects

The event is being organized by three students from the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences: Fenna Schipper, Nanouk van Weerdenburg and Britt Janssen. In the context of their bachelor’s final project, they’re conducting research into people’s dealings with AI. Van Weerdenburg: “I’m going to use it for my thesis. My research is on whether people are more willing to use AI for these kinds of purposes if they have or have not previously use AI models, such as ChatGPT. But most of all, I’m very curious to see whether there will be any matches.”

The students are supervised by Professor Chris Snijders and postdoc researcher Heleen Muijlwijk. Snijders explains that students don’t have to be afraid AI will match them to someone they don’t have any chemistry with. “Above all, we want to see if such a calculation model can contribute to making choices. If you like number four and the AI model picks number five, your choice will be decisive.”

After the event, email addresses will be exchanged between the people who indicated they like each other. “It will just be a fun night and we hope that people will get excited about the idea of AI as a matchmaking assistant. Opportunities like these don’t come along all that often.”

Married at First Sight

Snijders has been researching people’s willingness to use AI for some time now. The idea to organize a speed-dating evening featuring an AI model was also inspired by the popular TV show Married at First Sight. “I regularly watch those kinds of shows, where science is sort of abused to match people to each other,” Snijders says, alluding to the high entertainment value of the show. “That inspired me to wonder if we can also apply it in a more serious way.”

To this end, Snijders and the students found a number of datasets online, which had already been used in the context of speed dates. “Beforehand, students can fill out a questionnaire about themselves. Based on that information, we’ll have the AI model calculate to whom they might match.” This has an additional advantage in comparison to regular speed dates. “You’ll only be able to talk to someone for a few minutes. It’s conceivable that it’s easier to determine a potential match based on the questionnaire than on a four-minute conversation.”

Students can sign up for the speed-dating event using this link to the questionnaire. There is a one caveat. Snijders: “For the moment we’re only focusing on matching men and women. Those are the most common matches and that’s what the dataset is based on.” People with a different preference are nonetheless welcome to sign up. “If they do that in droves, making other kinds of matches is definitely possible.”

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