Modern love

现代社会的爱情:网约之恋
时间:2018-09-08 单词数:10410

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导读:在线约会改变了人们寻找配偶的方式,其好处大于坏处?

现代社会的爱情:网约之恋__双语新闻

THE internet has transformed the way people work and communicate. It has upended industries, from entertainment to retailing. But its most profound effect may well be on the biggest decision that most people make—choosing a mate.

互联网改变了人们工作和沟通的方式。 它颠覆了从娱乐到零售等各个行业。但它造成最深刻影响的很可能是大多数人 此生所做决定中最大的一个--择偶。

In the early 1990s the notion of meeting a partner online seemed freakish, and not a little pathetic. Today, in many places, it is normal. Smartphones have put virtual bars in people’s pockets, where singletons can mingle free from the constraints of social or physical geography. Globally, at least 200m people use digital dating services every month. In America more than a third of marriages now start with an online match-up. The internet is the second-most-popular way for Americans to meet people of the opposite sex, and is fast catching up with real-world “friend of a friend”introductions.

回到上世纪90年代初,那时在网上找伴侣的想法还显得很古怪,而且让人觉得很可悲。如今在许多地方这已毫不稀奇。智能手机把虚拟酒吧放进了人们的口袋,单身人士可以在这里摆脱社会 分布或现实空间的限制,自由交往。在 全球,每月至少有两亿人使用数字约 会服务。在美国,现在超过三分之一的婚姻是从在线配对开始。互联网是美国人第二喜欢的结交异性的方式,并且正在迅速赶上现实世界中“朋友的朋友”这种介绍方式。

Digital dating is a massive social experiment, conducted on one of humanity’s most intimate and vital processes. Its effects are only just starting to become visible (see Briefing).

数字约会是一项大规模的社会实验,在人类最私人也最重要的活动之一中展开。它的影响才刚刚开始显现。

When Harry clicked on Sally

当哈利点击莎莉

Meeting a mate over the internet is fundamentally different from meeting one offline. In the physical world, partners are found in family networks or among circles of friends and colleagues. Meeting a friend of a friend is the norm. People who meet online are overwhelmingly likely to be strangers. As a result, dating digitally offers much greater choice. A bar, choir or office might have a few tens of potential partners for any one person. Online there are tens of thousands.

在网上结识配偶与线下交往完全不同。在现实世界中,人们在家庭网络或 朋友和同事圈中找到另一半。结识朋友 的朋友是常态。而在网上遇到的人绝大 多数都是陌生人。因此,数字约会提供 的选择要多得多。酒吧、合唱团或办公室可能会为任何一个人提供几十个潜在 的伴侣,而网络能提供千千万万个。

This greater choice—plus the fact that digital connections are made only with mutual consent—makes the digital dating market far more efficient than the offline kind. For some, that is bad news. Because of the gulf in pickiness between the sexes, a few straight men are doomed never to get any matches at all. On Tantan, a Chinese app, men express interest in 60% of women they see, but women are interested in just 6% of men; this dynamic means that 5% of men never receive a match. In offline dating, with a much smaller pool of men to fish from, straight women are more likely to couple up with men who would not get a look-in online.

由于选择更多,再加上数字联系只有在双方同意的情况下才能建立起来,数字约会市场的效率远远高于线下。对有些人来说,这是个坏消息。由于两性在挑剔程度上的巨大差异,一些直男注定永远不会在网上得到配对。在中国的应用“探探”上,男性对他们看到的60%的女性表示感兴趣,但女性只对6%的男性感兴趣。这种差异意味着有5%的男性从未获得过任何匹配。在线下约会中,可选男性的数量要少得多,直女因而更有可能与那些在网上没机会被选中的男性牵手。

For most people, however, digital dating offers better outcomes. Research has found that marriages in America between people who meet online are likely to last longer; such couples profess to be happier than those who met offline. The whiff of moral panic surrounding dating apps is vastly overblown. Precious little evidence exists to show that opportunities online are encouraging infidelity. In America, divorce rates climbed until just before the advent of the internet, and have fallen since.

然而,对于大多数人来说,数字约会能带来更好的结果。研究发现,在美国,相识于网络的人们缔结的婚姻可能会更持久;这些伴侣自称比那些在线下相识的人更幸福。约会应用引发的些微道德恐慌被极大地夸大了。鲜有证据表明网上约会的机会会助长不忠行为。在美国,互联网出现之前离婚率一直在攀升,之后便开始下降。

Online dating is a particular boon for those with very particular requirements. Jdate allows daters to filter out matches who would not consider converting to Judaism, for instance. A vastly bigger market has had dramatic results for same-sex daters in particular. In America, 70% of gay people meet their partners online. This searchable spectrum of sexual diversity is a boon: more people can find the intimacy they seek.

在线约会尤其为那些有非常特定的要求的人提供了便利。例如,Jdate能让约会者过滤掉不考虑皈依犹太教的对象。对于同性恋者来说,一个远远扩大了的市场已经产生了非凡的影响。在美国,有70%的同性恋者是通过网络与伴侣相识的。可根据各种性取向搜索求偶者是一个福音:更多人可以找到他们寻求的亲密关系。

There are problems with the modern way of love, however. Many users complain of stress when confronted with the brutal realities of the digital meat market, and their place within it. Negative emotions about body image existed before the internet, but they are amplified when strangers can issue snap judgments on attractiveness. Digital dating has been linked to depression. The same problems that afflict other digital platforms recur in this realm, from scams to fake accounts: 10% of all newly created dating profiles do not belong to real people.

然而,这种现代爱情方式也存在问题。在面对数字约会市场的残酷现实及自己在其中的处境时,许多用户都抱怨压力大。有关身体形象的负面情绪在互联网出现之前就已存在,但当陌生人可以随意草率地发布对自己吸引力的评判时,就放大了这些情绪。已发现数字约会是抑郁症相关因素。从诈骗到虚假账户,困扰其他数字平台的问题同样也出现在数字约会领域:所有新创建的交友资料中有一成是虚假档案。

This new world of romance may also have unintended consequences for society. The fact that online daters have so much more choice can break down barriers: evidence suggests that the internet is boosting interracial marriages by bypassing homogenous social groups. But daters are also more able to choose partners like themselves. Assortative mating, the process whereby people with similar education levels and incomes pair up, already shoulders some of the blame for income inequality. Online dating may make the effect more pronounced: education levels are displayed prominently on dating profiles in a way they would never be offline. It is not hard to imagine dating services of the future matching people by preferred traits, as determined by uploaded genomes. Dating firms also suffer from an inherent conflict of interest. Perfect matching would leave them bereft of paying customers.

这个新的浪漫世界也可能为社会带来意想不到的后果。既然约会者的选择机会极大增加,他们之间的阻隔就可能被冲破:证据表明,由于可以绕过同质社会群体,互联网正在促进跨种族婚姻。但与此同时,约会者也更能够选择与自己相像的伴侣。所谓的“同型婚配”,也就 是具有相似教育和收入水平的人配对,已被指为导致收入不平等的原因之一。而在线约会可能会使这种影响愈加明显,这是因为受教育水平的信息就那么 显眼地摆在个人介绍上,而在线下永远不会这么展示。不难想象,未来的约会 服务可能会根据用户上传的基因组信息 通过优选特征来匹配对象。约会公司也面临固有的利益冲突:完美配对又会让它们失去付费客户。

The domination of online dating by a handful of firms and their algorithms is another source of worry. Dating apps do not benefit from exactly the same sort of network effects as other tech platforms: a person’s friends do not need to be on a specific dating site, for example. But the feedback loop between large pools of data, generated by ever-growing numbers of users attracted to an ever-improving product, still exists. The entry into the market of Facebook, armed with data from its 2.2bn users, will provide clues as to whether online dating will inexorably consolidate into fewer, larger platforms.

另一个引人担忧的问题是在线约会市场被少数公司及它们的算法控制。约会应用并不完全得益于其他科技平台那种网络效应,比如它并不需要一个人的朋友们也出现在同一个交友网站上。但是,由不断完善的产品不断吸引而来的用户所产生的大量数据之间的反馈回路仍然存在。手握22亿用户数据的Facebook已经进入了数字约会市场,可以通过它来观察在线约会是否会无可避免地整合到少数几个大平台上。

While you were swiping

当你滑屏时

But even if the market does not become ever more concentrated, the process of coupling (or not) has unquestionably become more centralised. Romance used to be a distributed activity which took place in a profusion of bars, clubs, churches and offices; now enormous numbers of people rely on a few companies to meet their mate. That hands a small number of coders, tweaking the algorithms that determine who sees whom across the virtual bar, tremendous power to engineer mating outcomes. In authoritarian societies especially, the prospect of algorithmically arranged marriages ought to cause some disquiet. Competition offers some protection against such a possibility; so too might greater transparency over the principles used by dating apps to match people up.

但是,即使约会市场没有变得更加集中,伴侶结合(或不结合)的过程无疑已经变得更集中。谈情说爱曾经是一个分散的活动,发生在无数的酒吧、俱乐部、教堂和办公室里;现在,不计其数的人依靠少数公司来与伴侣相识。这样,调整算法来决定谁与谁在虚拟酒吧相见的少数程序员就获得了巨大的权力,可以影响婚配结果。特别是在威权社会中,算法决定婚姻的前景应该会引起一些不安。竞争会在一定程度上防止这种可能性出现,而让约会应用的匹配原则更透明也会有同样的效果。

Yet such concerns should not obscure the good that comes from the modern way of romance. The right partners can elevate and nourish each other. The wrong ones can ruin both their lives. Digital dating offers millions of people a more efficient way to find a good mate. That is something to love.

然而,这些担忧不应该掩盖这种现代的浪漫形式所带来的好处。合适的伴侣可以相互促进,相互成就,而错误的配对则可能毁掉彼此的生活。数字约会为千百万人提供了一种更有效的寻找佳偶的方式。这一点值得我们爱它。

来源:经济学人爱语吧作者:爱语吧

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