Toronto

Online dating is exhausting so this woman got a robot to swipe and choose men for her

Katerina Lyadov hired 'dating managers' and used an AI robot to help her skip the unnecessary chit chat involved in online dating.

Katerina Lyadov hired 'dating managers' so they could chit-chat and schedule dates for her

Katerina Lyadova, 30, says online dating can be time-consuming. So, she hired 'dating managers' and used artificial intelligence to help pick men to go on dates with. (Evgeny Tchebotarev)

Navigating the online dating world is no easy task.  

After weeks of swiping and chatting with unknown men, Katerina Lyadova, 30, realized she was wasting a lot of time and getting no results.

That's why she decided to post an ad on Craigslist to hire "dating managers" and used the help of a robot and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to swipe right and have conversations with men for her.

"One you get into it, you enjoy it but after a while it becomes repetitive. It's a lot of chit chat," she said on CBC's Metro Morning on Wednesday. "A lot of conversations aren't meaningful and don't give you a representation of who the person is."

'Dating Vandalized'

Lyadova admits outsourcing her dating life isn't exactly normal, but she was interested in the experience as a social experiment and to see if it would actually lead to some success in her dating life.

She documented the process in a book, co-authored by Toronto-based writer Melissa Hughes, titled Dating Vandalized. The book outlines Lyadova's experience of going on those dates. Her book will officially launch on Thursday. 

Katerina Lyadova posted an ad to Craigslist to hire 'dating managers' to help her schedule dates. (Facebook/ Dating Vandalized)

"It sounded like a crazy idea and it started as a joke. My girlfriends [and I] were talking about online dating and saying how much time it takes, how people drop off and don't respond and how frustrating it is," she said. 

Lyadova used the dating apps Tinder and OK Cupid to do the initial filtering and then her "dating managers" would use her information and pictures to initiate conversations. 

Melissa Hughes and Katerina Lyadova outline the experience of 'outsourcing your dating life' in a book titled Dating Vandalized. (Facebook/ Dating Vandalized)

"They were talking to these guys, asking them questions and checking them against my checklist that I gave them," she said. "They would present them to me, and if I approved it they would schedule a date."

'Am I on a TV show?'

Using the robot, Lyadova said, wasn't as effective in finding potential dates she actually liked but she could see AI playing a bigger role in dating in the future. 

"Basically what the robot does, it uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to do swiping for you. It learns what kinds of pictures you like and then swipes for you and then initiates conversations," she said. "I think in the future it could be very possible. We might see more exciting results."

Lyadova came clean to her dates about how she matched with them. 

"Most of them actually liked the idea. They were interested in learning more," she said. "One guy almost jumped on a chair saying, 'Oh, am I on a TV show? Where is the camera?'"

Did it work?

Lyadova said outsourcing her dating life certainly saved her some time and she went on several dates she considers "successful." 

With an average of three or four dates per week over a three-month period, Lyadova said the process did help find interesting dates. She went on nearly 30 first dates and many subsequent dates. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ramna Shahzad

Producer, CBC Toronto

Ramna Shahzad is a multi-media producer and reporter in the CBC Toronto newsroom. She began working at CBC News in 2015 as a Joan Donaldson Scholar. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, she now calls Toronto home and writes about everything from transit and city hall to baby animal births at the zoo

With files from Metro Morning, Taylor Simmons

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