Let us take a look at how dating may work in the not-too-distant future.
Geological eons ago, when I last participated in the dating scene, trying to find the right person for a relationship was hard, hard work. Circa 1990 a man might look for suitable dating partners through personal ads or dating services, and then contact a female by mail or phone (this was before email became popular). With luck he might then make a blind date for lunch with the female. Most of the time one or the other would end up disappointed, finding that the other person was in some major way unsuitable. It was just as hard work back in those days trying to work the bar scene or disco scene. You might have to approach someone you knew nothing about, and strike up a conversation, without any basis for a starting point (such as some knowledge about the person's job, likes, or background). It was no surprise that starter lines such as “Do you come here often?” were very popular. I never quite got the hang of those.
I am not familiar with the dating scene of the year 2014, but my guess is that it's not much easier. But around the year 2030, dating may be vastly easier.
This may be because of two different technologies: augmented reality technology and facial recognition technology. In the year 2030 the average man “on the prowl” may either wear augmented reality glasses or wear augmented reality contact lenses. When such a man looks through his glasses, he will see all kinds of popup text that identifies or describes the things that he sees.
Such a man will probably also have access to a very sophisticated facial recognition software service, capable of recognizing individuals from their facial features. The man might have to pay for such a service, or he might possibly get it for free (at the price of having to put up with many pop-up ads that appear on his augmented reality glasses).
So when the man goes looking for someone to date, he will merely have to put on his augmented reality glasses, and watch people walk by. The glasses will identify people, using the facial recognition technology. The glasses will also give some information that will make it easy for the man to start a conversation.
Below is a depiction of how things might look for a person wearing such glasses. The man might see Sarah Davis, and have her identified by his glasses. He might then say, “Hey, Sarah. How's that gene designer job going?” No need to use a cheesy all-purpose pickup line.
How augmented reality glasses might look to a wearer
The software service may also provide a desirability rating from one star to four stars. The service might also estimate what the man's chances are of establishing a relationship with the identified individual. This might be calculated based partially on the identified individual's education, physical attractiveness, relationship status, and estimated income level, and also the education, income level, and physical attractiveness of the person wearing the glasses.
If you were a young, well-educated, highly paid, good looking person, you might look through such glasses and typically see a “relationship chance” figure such as 70% or 80%. But if you were an ugly high-school dropout working as a street sweeper, you might look through such glasses and never see a “relationship chance” higher than 5%.
Now imagine you started up a conversation with attractive young prospect Sarah Davis. Sarah might start talking about her job as a gene designer. She might start using technical terms such as DNA. How would you make yourself seem like someone who knows something about these complicated topics? If you ask Sarah “What is DNA?” she'll think you're an airhead. But you would have nothing to worry about. You would rely on your augmented reality glasses. You would switch on a “listen” mode. In this mode, the glasses listen to nearby words, and then give you a popup that gives you a little information about the words it recognizes. So when Sarah refers to DNA, you see on your augmented reality glasses a little popup telling you what DNA is. You can then say something that makes it sound as if you know something about what Sarah is talking about. Sarah is then impressed by your knowledge.
But suppose you start dating lovely young Sarah, and then she dumps you, rejecting you in favor of some more suitable partner. No technology we can imagine will immunize you from this age-old danger. But technology will give you ways of softening the blow.
The first way of softening the blow might be for you to download a photo of Sarah into your favorite virtual reality software. The software will then adapt so that instead of being able to have virtual reality dates in glamorous locations with a virtual Marilyn Monroe, you will instead be able to have glamorous virtual reality dates with someone who looks just like Sarah.
The second way of softening the blow might be for you to download a photo of Sarah into the software of your home 3D printer. You might then be able to print out a soft, squeezable life-sized likeness of Sarah you can cavort with – or perhaps a 3D robot that looks just like Sarah.
The third way of softening the blow might be to play with the interface of your augmented reality glasses. You could instruct the software of the glasses to superimpose the face of Sarah over the face of your next girlfriend. You might then start dating some average-looking woman who is not as lovely as Sarah. But due to the wonders of augmented reality technology, whenever you looked at such a woman through your augmented reality glasses, she would look just like Sarah.