Category: Tech

Some on computers

Getting married

Getting married

Just today I found on Reddit a link to a post called “Optimizing your wife“. That reminded me that marriage is an example that sometimes arises in scientific papers (I always loved “College admissions and the stability of marriage” for some weird reasons that I never fully understood) and that on January I read another paper, that got also quite famous on the Internet. It was titled “Why I don’t have a girlfriend: an application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK“. You cannot believe it, but Backus’ paper reminded me another thing, completely unscientific, that is an episode of the famous TV-show “How I met your mother” called “Matchmaker“.

Why ?
Because in his paper, Backus talks about some properties of his ideal girlfriend, like attractiveness and education. If you watch the HIMYM episode that I just cited (other than listening to a dialog stating again how low are the probabilities to find a soul mate in New York) you will see the main character, Ted, listing some of the properties of his ideal girlfriend too. It is really funny that a scientific paper made me think about a show, isn’t it ?

As every good computer scientist, or enthusiast, out there I started thinking about an algorithm like the one described, and I thought that we could just see the whole problem as a big optimization one. I mean, if we could have a database plenty of data about different people, then we could just compute some score and pick up the girl with the best one. All our problems solved!
I should say now that I’m not really into things like that, that is, I don’t believe that an algorithm will ever pick up girlfriends for us, but anyway I really like to think about stupid problems and this one just haunted my brain. Anyway I decided to not think about the algorithm itself, or its possible complexity.

My interest, indeed, was just focused on how to list all those complex properties related to the description of humankind. I suppose that the typical human approach would be to list, like in the show, some desired properties of the partner, and our properties too (it should be bidirectional anyway). However I always feel weird when I have to fulfill some description of myself, it’s always difficult to say “I like this and that” or “I do that and that”, there are always omissions, mostly unwanted, and I’m never able to be complete. So at the end I never like any of the description of myself I wrote. But if I’m not able to list at least mine properties (as we can assume, simplifying, that if I would be able just to describe myself and you can do the same, then we can still try to achieve some conclusions about how good is our matching just using those data), how can I even think that a dating service could work in practice! So I should suppose that all the current dating website and whatsoever are just connecting people that match some trivial properties, and the rest is just luck (or love?). The point is that, before thinking about rankings and how to describe human properties so ethereal like “attractiveness“, we should gather all those information together, and just that step is not trivial at all.

Or is it ?
Then I thought something like that: if I’m not able to accurately describe myself, why someone else don’t do that for me? What I mean is that having to directly provide information of this kind is extremely difficult and inaccurate, and it should just be a plus, something more, something to add at an automatically produced base. I need an auto-generated description of myself, that I may or may not want to improve or modify, to use as an input for the soul mate matching algorithm.

But who can I ask for providing an almost complete description of me ?
Not being really smart I will just think about two big guys: Google and Facebook. And the reason is simple: they can store and analyze information about how we behave (of course just on the Internet, but hey, this is just a reflection of mine, not a scientific paper) and they can easily find properties about us that we don’t even know about. What we search, the websites that we often visit, the pictures that we like to watch, our friends, what we read, the music that we listen to and the one that we hate, etc.. I mean, if you could really access all that information about yourself, don’t you think it could be a good description of who you are, to give in input to our super-duper algorithm and find your ideal girlfriend ?

That’s it. I don’t want to go anywhere else farther than that. My goal was just to share a short reflection with the rest of the Internet and that I just did.
And who knows, maybe I will get married tomorrow just because of this post 😉