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Internet dating research book worth a speed date

 love in the time of algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating by Dan Slater (255 pages, $25.95)

love in the time of algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating by Dan Slater (255 pages, $25.95)

If Nate Silver’s rise to cult status teaches this math-averse town anything, it’s that algorithms can be sexy. And what’s sexier than using them to find sex itself?

Dan Slater’s Love in the Time of Algorithms explores the history and modern-day implications of the explosive growth of online dating, now a $2 billion business in North America. His book – a sampling of which ran recently in the Atlantic – offers an interesting history of computer-aided matchmaking, an anthropological look at online dating behavior and social network-style profiles of some of the (seemingly all male) founders of the era’s biggest online dating success stories, including OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match and eHarmony.

Of course, there’s something for everyone online, as Slater is quick to point out. Take for example, AshleyMadison.com, a site that specializes in promoting dating options for married people. How much do you want to know about Urbancougar.com, DateGinger.com (for redheads and their fans) or FarmersOnly.com?

Behind Slater’s engaging reporting lurks the mystery of whether science can actually predict love, even with the most nuanced computer program as its handmaiden.

It’s worth at least a speed date.

For the Washington Post

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