How to make a girl like you over text

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A new class of apps can use machine intelligence to lớn determine if your text conversations are imbued with hidden romantic sparks.

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Every good love story has a moment in which the precious ingénue, blind to lớn the complexities of the world, misinterprets the lover's move. Sally mistakes Harry's interest for friendship. Romeo, believing Juliet to be dead, poisons himself. The folly of love is not so much about what we do when we are flooded with feelings, but what can happen when we have incomplete data. This is perhaps why a crop of new apps have arrived, harnessing the powers of artificial intelligence, to offer relationship advice.

One of them, Mei, is billed as a "relationship assistant." The game android version of the app, which arrived last September, parses text conversations khổng lồ estimate the compatibility và personality of the individual you're chatting with, scoring along five traits: openness, emotional control, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The ios version, which debuted this weekend, has a singular function: khổng lồ suggest the probability, on a 100-point scale, that the tương tác is romantically interested.


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It costs $9 khổng lồ buy 100 Mei credits, the amount required lớn analyze a single conversation. (Larger credit packs come at a discount; you can get 500 for $40 or 1,000 for $70.) Right now, the app can only analyze conversations from WhatsApp, which conveniently lets a user export a chat log. Once a conversation is whizzed over khổng lồ Mei's servers, it's crunched through a series of algorithms that search for clues.


I ran several of my WhatsApp chat logs through the analyzer. Mei needs at least 1,000 words to lớn perform its diagnostics, which disqualified several conversations, including the one with my actual boyfriend, who was begged to lớn text me exclusively on WhatsApp for a few days. Others cut the mustard. One conversation, with an Israeli soldier I'd met on Birthright, returned a 24 percent likelihood of thắm thiết interest. That seemed about right. Another conversation, with someone I had briefly dated, scored slightly higher—but even then, only a 43 percent likelihood, despite some R-rated chatter. The only person Mei suggested was likely khổng lồ have thắm thiết feelings for me was my oldest childhood friend, a gay man.

Not following the logic, I reached out lớn Mei's creator, Es Lee. Lee began tinkering with a program to lớn measure lãng mạn interest after watching a clueless friend get ghosted after a date. Lee took his friend's phone, scrolled through the texts, and saw that his friend had misinterpreted the conversational subtext. "It's almost like texting body toàn thân language," he says. "Do you wait khổng lồ reply, or bởi you reply immediately? vì chưng you use exclamation points? vày you double text? I thought a lot of that could be done with algorithms. It felt like a natural thing lớn do."


Lee's first app, called Crushh, promised exactly that. The "texting relationship analyzer" offered a thắm thiết interest score on a scale of zero khổng lồ five, as well as insights on the power nguồn dynamics in a conversation (i.e., who likes who more). It also prompted users khổng lồ say a little about each repartee: How old were the people in the conversation, what were their genders? Was the tương tác a colleague? A spouse? A crush?


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Lee says the tiện ích processed "hundreds of thousands" of these conversations, many of them self-labeled with those context clues. That provided a hefty data phối of what real text conversations looked like, across various demographics & in different types of relationships. Some of the patterns were obvious—a person who says "I miss you" early in a conversation likely has the feels—but others were more Delphian. "Based on the data, people who have lãng mạn intent use the words 'night' và 'dream' a lot more," says Lee.

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Other apps have used similar models lớn juice up sales pitches, advise employees on messaging the boss, or generate context-specific e-mail replies. Boomerang, a plug-in for Gmail & Outlook, makes an AI tool that proofreads emails & suggests ways to improve them before you hit "Send." An ứng dụng called Keigo combines "advanced psychology" & "cutting-edge AI" lớn determine the personality of a person based on their emails or tweets, & then provides helpful suggestions on how lớn approach them.


Like any good assistant, Keigo can slide deftly into many situations: khổng lồ prepare for the job interview, to lớn win the second date, khổng lồ better understand a partner after a big fight. But Teemu Huttunen, Keigo's managing director, says people are mostly using it for love. "To be honest, we were hoping that people would use this in other forms than just dating, but the dating one is the most obvious," he says. "When you have a Tinder match and you agree lớn go on a date, the next step is that you would have lớn say something interesting."

The tiện ích borrows a model from IBM's Watson, which performed a series of studies to maps basic personality characteristics onto peoples' đầu ra on social media. IBM's version translates tweets into its own "big five" traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, và neuroticism. Keigo uses a different framework, based on Meyers-Briggs' personality assessments. Feed it a snippet of text and it'll deliver recommendations on how to lớn talk khổng lồ someone.

By way of demonstration, Huttunen showed me a graph that had mapped my tweets against Oprah Winfrey's. The insights suggested that Oprah và I are 77 percent "compatible," & that in a conversation with her, I'd want khổng lồ emphasize teamwork, my "future journey," & intuitive reciprocity. (Later, Huttunen would send me an e-mail that referenced our "inspiring" phone call, and I would wonder if Keigo had planted that choice of words.)

All of these apps require a real suspension of privacy—they are, after all, parsing intimate conversations. Lee says Mei anonymizes all of its conversational data, and allows users to scrub their uploads from the company's servers. By way of caution, the phầm mềm also displays this pop-up before you upload anything: "In order for Mei to lớn give you analysis on your conversation, the conversation history needs to be uploaded khổng lồ our servers. If you are not comfortable with this, PLEASE GO NO FURTHER."

For the intrusion, Lee seems lớn think the payoff is enough. Right now, Mei is a novelty crush analyzer. But he likes khổng lồ think about what might happen in the future, with a much bigger data set. "I could go, 'OK, this is a crush, but what type? Are you just flirting? Are you married? You might be able to lớn start building models for those things," he says. "When you have enough data, it's almost lượt thích an encyclopedia of people."

In this dream world, text-analyzing apps can vị more than just tell you who lớn ask out. They are bellwethers of human communiqué, a key to lớn unlock the hidden mysteries of the people around us, a way khổng lồ become better lovers & friends.

But in reality, they seem to signal only our clumsiness in talking lớn each other. Whether a text analyzer reveals anything real or not, using one seems to offer a false sense of predictability và a semblance of control over otherwise messy human relationships. Does the emoji mean it's true love? Did the double text ruin the mood? Am I doing this right? The answers, displeasingly, never live in an app. The guidance there is about as useful as a deck of tarot cards.


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Arielle Pardes is a senior writer at nhatroso.com, where she works on stories about our relationship to lớn our technology. Previously she was a senior editor for VICE. She is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania and lives in San Francisco.