Love in the Time of Algorithms
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, countless singletons are no doubt gearing up to respond to that dreaded question from parents, grandparents and other nosy relatives: “So, are you seeing anyone?”
Instead of trying to justify your single status to your crotchety aunt, there’s also another option—downloading an Invisible Boyfriend or Girlfriend, which launched today from private to public beta.
Yep, we’re for real. The apps, founded by St. Louis’s Matthew Homann and Kyle Tabor, let users pay for “believable social proof” that they’re in a relationship. They generate everything from photos and meet-cutes to text messages and actual voicemails—all of them totally fake, but also totally realistic.
Are there any flesh and blood female human beings in the country of Japan that serve as actual girlfriends? There must be, but they certainly aren’t getting much facetime on the Internet. Everywhere we turn, it seems, something inanimate is being manufactured, uploaded to the Internet with breathless excitement and automatically labeled a “girlfriend.”
Here, take a stroll with us as we meet the girlfriends of Japan.