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Ishdeep Sawhney

Ishdeep Sawhney is the Co-founder and CEO of Banihal.com, a matchmaking/matrimony app that uses the power of artificial intelligence algorithms to provide its users with compatible options.

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Future of Matchmaking Sector

A recent study held by Business of Apps claims that Tinder is currently available in over 30 languages. The app has generated over one billion matches since its start, and subscriber estimates vary between 100,000 and 297,000 users.

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Known for various customs and rituals that take place in a marriage with a few discarded and a few glorified, the one thing that has stuck with India, is the importance of arranged marriages. For ages, the notion of the elders of the family taking interest and being the driving force behind marriages of their children had been deeply rooted in the mindset of majority of the population within the country. The groom’s family would go looking for a prospective bride when he would come of age as would the bride’s family encourage their daughters to settle after honing certain skill sets that would aid her in taking care of the family and its household.

A few years down the line, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the sudden tech boom took place in this part of the subcontinent which led to an influx of online platforms that brought people closer to each other and allowed them to access a larger pool of prospective matches. Rushing to leverage this tech trend, came the matchmaking websites that formalised the process of online matchmaking and brought more structure to the process. An increasing number of people set up profiles of themselves on these websites and were able to view multiple profiles that matched their basic search criteria. However, even as a country marching towards progress, there were still a few cultural/social conditions deeply embedded that couldn't be left too far behind. Matches were still made on the basis of attributes such as profession, vegetarian/non vegetarian, religion, etc. It was only when people met each other and talked for some time that they really understood if they were compatible from the perspective of personal attitudes and behaviours.

Given that the concept of arranged marriages still stands strong amongst the many Indians that belong to the urban youth - albeit, their perspectives on a perfect match have changed drastically - with technology modifying itself everyday to meet the need of the hour, young businesses and start-ups have efficiently leveraged the concept of incorporating AI in order to keep themselves aligned with the program. This has resulted in the matchmaking sector expanding its horizons and how. There are some that put this technology to use by following the conventional ways of filtering out profiles based on preferences related to superficial attributes, and then there are some that combine this with psychometrics and neuroscience. Having more experience with the latter, it can easily be believed that this specific format works better in the long run as the chances of finding a partner with whom you can lead a harmonious life are promising. This is because such mechanisms learn about its users on a personal level and finds out what makes them tick and in return, shortlists an x number of profiles from the user database that they may actually be compatible with. With many matchmaking websites turning to apps and incorporating advanced functionality, the search for finding partners has become so easy and efficient that, it seems as though science-fiction may just be turning into our reality.

However, speaking of the future in terms of the technology as far as innovation is concerned, let’s hazard a guess and say we’re pretty much there already. In order to come up with an invention, an innovative mind must see the need for it. Considering that as humans that belong to the 21st century, our world has been reduced to screen time, albeit broadened the outreach and connectivity. The entire idea for innovation and technological advancement has been to make our lives conveniently efficient and it has achieved that already. The only change there possibly seems to be is that of the human psyche pattern. We spend too much time behind our screens and that’s okay. We’re at a point where that is normal. Our daily lives function on it. Its how we work, its how we educate ourselves, it is where we meet people, it is where we have conversations, it is where we kill our time by playing games. However, it has impacted our interpersonal skills. This happens because there isn’t a need to get out there and interact anymore in person. As people seeking a potential partner, we’d think it’s a tedious task to make the effort to actually go out in person and weed out someone compatible, which it is. The whole point of “there’s an app for that” is so that we can efficiently segregate our time efficiently, not because we don’t care enough to spend time on it, but because we know for a fact that a computer is a million times smarter than us. We programmed it to be super intelligent so it gives us results that are accurate and as quick to make a suggestion as counting to 3. Maybe 5.

However, the online Matchmaking market is blooming at a considerable rate and is set to reach INR 20.6 billion by 2020 according to a research report. As more success stories emerge, many singles will turn to matchmaking services. Currently, about 8 percent of 18-29 year olds admit to being in a committed relationship with a spouse or partner they met online. The advent of smartphones has enabled thousands of Millennials to date online through popular new apps like tinder, truly madly and ok cupid. A recent study held by Business of Apps claims that Tinder is currently available in over 30 languages. The app has generated over one billion matches since its start, and subscriber estimates vary between 100,000 and 297,000 users.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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