Computer dating 1970
Doing so makes more visible the heteronormativity that silently structures much of our technological infrastructure and helps bring other questions about gender, race, and class into the foreground.
The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.
The article also upsets the notion that computer dating systems can simply be understood as a version of the “boys and their toys” narrative that has dominated much of computing history.
It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.
Also enduring throughout the years are problems of misrepresentation: of age, weight, attractiveness, and height, as with the man who claimed to be 6' tall and "mysteriously shrunk to about 5 feet 6 inches in person." These issues have unlikely been resolved even on today's Internet.
Abstract: Although online dating has only recently become culturally acceptable and widespread, using computers to make romantic matches has a long history.
Any time of profound social change calls for a good date."Inevitably, the singles game is putting technology to use," magazine declared back in 1967, "and the computer-dating service is growing as steadily as the price of a share of IBM." The article describes "punchcard-plotted introductions" that cost to 0. Harvard students founded a landmark computer-dating service around the same time, and as the reported in 1965, "Their banner reads 'SEX,' their creed is written on the circuits of a computer, and their initial organized uprising is called Operation Match." A black-and-white video celebrates the "computer marriages" emerging from Operation Match by 1968.
You're chatting for 15 minutes, then all of sudden they may ask for something really obscene."Even 37 years later, many women (and men) who attempt online dating can likely relate to these socially dysfunctional mishaps from certain suitors.The drawing of the computer was supposedly based on the huge SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator) mainframe that IBM had shown off in its Madison Avenue showroom in New York City from 1948-1952.But the reason that it was making an appearance on the cover of the New Yorker almost a decade later had less to do with the specific computer in question, and more to do with what computer technology was coming to represent by the early 1960s: a potential challenge to the capacities and talents of human beings. By the early 1960s, mainframes had crept into the popular consciousness through news reports and advertising.They were still poorly understood by the public at large, and many people were unsure about what these new machines could actually do, as well as what sorts of tasks they should do.
“There are fewer and fewer operations today that a man can do which a well educated computer cannot do faster and more accurately,” a columnist in the London Times wrote, synthesizing the growing anxiety about computers in the culture at large.Computers did exist in the '60s, in some form -- not personal computers, but computers nonetheless.