Imagining the marriage problem in a real life situation seems a bit hard. Since our discussion last class, I think it´s safe to say that we all agree that individuals sexual preferences add a complicated twist on the marriage problem.
This is why I found it incredibly interesting when last semester two students from Stanford University decided to test out the algorithm which solves the stable marriage problem. This approach consisted of a questionnaire in which students had to give their sexual orientation, ethnicity and gender identity. Then they had to answer a set of questions more related to their beliefs, lifestyle choices, political orientation and other factors. All of this data was collected in order to match students with potential partners.
Honestly this process sounds a lot like a questionnaire you´d find on a dating site. However, it did make me wonder one thing, is it more reliable to let an algorithm match you to your future soulmate/husband/wife instead of looking for one yourself? This may sound like a hopeless romantic thought, yet I think it’s super interesting that we are willing to let a computer run algorithm match us to potential partners. I understand that it is easy to match people that have things in common, but many times partners don’t have to have many things in common, just the fundamentals, such as thoughts on controversial issues.
This brings me to the following, have we become obsessed with design mechanism? I understand that design mechanisms are very helpful when assigning objects to people (such as houses, kidneys and objects where its hard to decide fairly who gets what), but when it comes to people…there must be a mutual agreement. Obviously an algorithm such as Stanford’s doesn´t take into account looks for example, maybe a person has certain characteristics you may like, but you don´t find them attractive. The algorithm kind of makes me think about fixed marriages in India, where the parents choose potential partners for their daughters often times based on economic incentives. Although in such case, it is very interesting to see that those marriages have the lowest rate of divorce in the world.
All of this being said, I’m not very sure about how I feel about us using an algorithm to match people with potential partners. Even though divorce rates might drop and people would be better off with a stable partner under this circumstance, it takes away the learning experience of being in relationships and figuring out who is the right match for yourself, not just mathematically but sentimentally.
Boulouta, T. (2017, December 1). ‘Marriage Pact’ pairs students off using Nobel Prize algorithm. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from https://www.stanforddaily.com/2017/12/01/marriage-pact-pairs-students-off-using-nobel-prize-algorithm
Dholakia, U. M. (2015, November 24). Why Are So Many Indian Arranged Marriages Successful? Retrieved February 23, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201511/why-are-so-many-indian-arranged-marriages-successful