This ‘Rizz’ Bot May Help You Find Love—or Creep Everyone Out

In the quest to help us connect with one another, AI may further exacerbate already fractured societal norms. Published Feb. 23, 2024 11:47PM EST Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/GettyDating app burnout is defined by exhaustion from prolonged, disappointing dating app use. It typically takes Americans about 4,000 swipes over an eight month period to find

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In the quest to help us connect with one another, AI may further exacerbate already fractured societal norms.

A photo illustration of a robot wearing a trucker hat and gold chains

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Dating app burnout is defined by exhaustion from prolonged, disappointing dating app use. It typically takes Americans about 4,000 swipes over an eight month period to find a partner on a dating app, according to one 2023 survey. In that same year, Pew Research Center found that 46 percent of dating app users said their experiences on dating apps have been overall very or somewhat negative.

You get the picture: Things are dismal in the dating world.

Now, developers are claiming artificial intelligence will alleviate this weight. Bumble just announced their Deception Detector, an AI feature designed to identify fake profiles and solve catfishing. TextsFromMyEx.com offers an AI-powered compatibility analysis of your texts with your ex. YourMove.AI and Winggg offer conversation suggestions for dating apps and texting. And, similarly, Rizz.app offers free and paid “rizz”—Gen Z parlance for charisma—to users.

“Many go on Reddit asking for help. Or asking their friends for advice. Most simply can’t afford a dating coach.,” one of Rizz’s co-founders wrote in a post on Reddit. “I believe AI can level the playing field, enabling people to enhance their flirting skills and boost confidence when interacting with new people.”

Rizz’s AI “guides” or coaches daters in how to initiate the conversation and keep it going on both dating apps and over text or other messaging apps. Users simply upload a dating app bio and the bot tells them how to start a convo. Or they can upload a conversation and it’ll advise them how to engage. With the press of one button it auto-generates pickup lines like:

“Do you like bacon? Wanna strip?”

“If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?”“I’d love to kiss those luscious lips. And the ones on your face.”

“I may not go down in history, but I’ll go down on you.”

Most of its current suggestions fall somewhere on a spectrum from reworded observation in response to an uploaded dating app bio or conversation to dated, misogynistic quips that could easily be considered sexual harassment by a recipient on a dating app. AI’s general inability to empathize is reflected clearly in Rizz’s suggestions.

The app’s user base is largely male, CEO Roman Khaves told GQ. The team training the AI was all men dating coaches because they were coaching men. Therein lies the issue: The fact that Rizz was being trained by just men could have an echo chamber effect—and ultimately leave the blind leading the blind on their quest to impress and attract women.

(When reached out for comment, a Rizz spokesperson told The Daily Beast that there are women on the team but they chose not to comment on whether or not the way the AI is being developed or changed has changed.)

Feeding an AI a data set from a singular perspective has implications beyond the individual user. “With any age of technology, we are posed with a level of benefits and then certain liabilities and spaces that we can’t really analyze and understand until they’re happening in real time,” Akua Boateng, a licensed psychotherapist, told The Daily Beast.

That hasn’t dampened the app’s popularity. For a brief moment in 2023, Rizz was the most downloaded lifestyle app on the Apple app store(it’s around the 25th at the time of reporting), and they boast a staggering “50 million replies generated,” on their app store page.

This influx of users means Rizz could further exacerbate already fractured societal norms. A generation of young men that came up in an the time where they heard the president recommend grabbing women “by the pussy” and with loud influences like Andrew Tate relying on such chatbots to advise them on social cues is pouring gasoline on an already burning fire driven by AI and male loneliness

“These are not just small suggestions and preferences. It’s in these rooms that we begin to create what is the standard in society,” Boateng said. “It becomes things like policy and law, teachings in universities and it has this way of finding itself into what we are supposed to be and how we’re supposed to respond.”

A triptych of screenshots from Rizz

The Daily Beast/Rizz

Artificially Awkward

Ed Watal is the founder and principal of Intellibus, an IT strategy consultancy. He points out Uber as an example of how these technologies shift policy. “Uber challenged the status quo of the current fabric of the legal infrastructure. It was less of a technology solution,” he told The Daily Beast. The app and its subsequent rideshare predecessors have been the catalyst of new laws worldwide.

Currently in the U.S., AI regulations are slowly being proposed state-by-state, but they are largely centered in ethical use by businesses and to sort out potential litigation risks. This leaves everyday Americans to navigate consumer concerns on their own.

With data and tech, the obvious push is to make things efficient. Boateng compares this flight to AI for social cues to that of SparkNotes. “As soon as you find out the shortcut, sometimes there’s a tendency to want to rely on it, because it has some inherent benefits,” she said.

Sure, having an AI generate conversation starters for swiping through thousands of dating app bios may save time, but at what cost? Users may believe they’re able escape the feelings of failure, challenging conversations or rejection in the name of ease and efficiency, but it’ll be to their detriment long term.

“The challenge with AI is that no matter how specialized we get in artificial intelligence, there is an intangible thing that happens between human to human that can not be replicated,” Boateng said. “The emotional intelligence and knowledge of self that we get from having to navigate conflict or negotiate love and friendship, these things that we need to learn and develop over time can’t be done artificially.”

Additionally, the bias created from homogenous data will only offer output from a narrow perspective. Rizz’s current suggestions are ripe to attract daters that want to talk about sex first with complete strangers. This overlooks a large swath of daters who may prefer not to be sexually harassed by strangers they met.

Watal has a theory called screen hypothesis to explain it. He says to imagine a football game and all of the attendees recording a different perspective of the same moment. While there will be undeniable facts like what team and players are on the field, the moment according to the recordings is a perspective of every human.

“The sum total version of the truth is the sum total of all recordings or all perspectives. In order to find the whole truth, you have to capture every possible witness of the event and get every possible perspective,” he said. Without this approach to ethical input of data into an AI, it will continue to learn from a defined perspective and further inherent bias.

How this translates for those that need a dating assistant, their route to human connection becomes in homogeny with the larger group, that of one particular perspective and further removed from the development of self.

Boateng emphasized how this deters people from working to know themselves. “When we’re miseducated, we miss out on a color, the texture, the nuance that makes life really beautiful which really comes from diversity and difference,” she says. “It’s a myopic view of the world.”

While there are clear cut benefits from AI, the desire to use the technology for innately human things like emotional development is woefully misguided, particularly in a time where the U.S. is in a loneliness epidemic.

There’s room for improvement in terms of emotional education and the benefits of forging healthy connections for Americans. Meanwhile, the need for education around AI not only when it comes to safety, privacy and for business, but how it’s being used on a personal level and particularly in terms of supplemental human connection is becoming increasingly urgent, especially as male loneliness in particular has been linked to violent extremism.

When it comes to building relationships, we’re neglecting knowing ourselves enough to get to know others in the name of efficiency and getting to an arbitrary outcome faster. If you’re having a hard time with people, maybe we should consider the benefits of connecting with other living things like pets or taking care of plants before learning how to date from an algorithm whose calculations are never going to replicate empathy or love for oneself or others or literally any of the best feelings in life.

“My fear is that we become more and more emotionally malnourished and underdeveloped,” Boateng said.

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