Hmmm. What I wonder is: Why is he surprised? Real people — in the flesh — cause a lot of trouble. Works of art — including bad but amusing art like porn — can be enjoyed at leisure and turned off at will.
I arrived at the linked blog post — "Algorithmic Online Dating and the Paradox of Choice" — after I Googled "The Paradox of Choice," the title of a book that I referred to yesterday. This notion that choice won't make us happy is — or I've been calling it — a liberal meme.
From the Algorithmic Online Dating" post:
[Barry Schwartz’s "The Paradox of Choice"] basically says if you need a jar of jam and you go to a supermarket that has 3 types of jams you’ll leave much happier than when you go to a supermarket that has 30 different types of jams on the shelf. This is a beautiful dilemma, in the first case your chance of buying the best jam available is 33 percent and even if you fail to chose the best jam there is 66 percent chance that you will get at least the second best jam or better. In the second case the likelihood of buying the best available jam is only 3 percent. So you’ll be less happier knowing that you have probably selected the jam that is not the best.But what do I care about whether I'm picking the best of the 3 things the store happens to have? It might have 3 mediocre jars of jam. A store with 30 jams probably has some excellent jams in there. Is Schwartz saying that when you can only see 3 jams, you don't get any big ideas about how good jam can be, so you're happy with Smucker's, but when you see 30 jams, you imagine that jam can be really amazing, and you're left feeling hollow and hopeless when the Bonne Maman doesn't give you an orgasm?
The problem is that assortative mating is a very complex game theoretical problem. If you have watched the movie, beautiful mind, you probably remember that John Nash (Russell Crowe) talks about the best strategy to get the blond lady!Here. Watch that scene.
Now add 5 million more online single guys to the pool of competitors and you got yourself an unsolvable game theoretical problem....Why? First of all, the John Nash character in the movie was talking about the group dynamic in a real-life room in which 4 males encounter 5 women. If the men all go for the most beautiful one — "the blonde" — then no one gets anyone because the guys block each other's way to "the blonde" and simultaneously alienate the 4 less-than-most-beautiful women. By contrast, a dating site is virtual space in which you interact one-to-one without seeing your rivals and without letting your target see her/his rivals. If you arrange to meet in the flesh, the rivals won't be there. Of course, it's probably going to go badly, but whose fault is that?