Last Friday, I came home from work wanting chocolate and solitude. But a couple of my flatmates were in the garden, and looming introvert guilt prevailed over Friday fatigue, so I joined them.
I would say the conversation quickly turned to the topic of Tinder, but I don't remember it ever not being about Tinder. They showed me how it worked (yes, I am that sheltered, apparently) and then I watched as they flicked through it, saying yes or no to a blur of faces that were either "fit" or "ugly".
I said I would be too scared to ever use it in case I didn't get any interest, since it's based purely on looks. (And this was before this morning, when an entire fridge door fell on my face - but that's another story.)
"Oh, girls always get dates on here", my male flatmate bitterly assured me as he swiped with the precision and ferocity that only comes with experience.
They both sat, making the odd noise in accordance to how beautiful or disgusting particular faces were. Both perfectly nice people, both spending their Friday nights in an area packed with other eligible people, swiping through their phones and potentially declining the loves of their life because of one unflattering photo.
I know I'm very late in learning about Tinder, especially since there's now a version being developed for the elderly (which I assume is exactly the same but with bigger buttons). But I'm a bit shocked. We're not even judging people by their looks anymore, we're judging them by their two-dimensional looks. In one second. Repeatedly. And at the same time, allowing people do the same to us.
It made me think about what the future of technology could look like if we continue down this route: ignoring social norms and human decency in favour of time, ease and personal gain. Here are my very scientific predictions.
Apps of the future
Ejector seats you can activate when you're interviewing someone and decide you don't want to hire them
A button that zaps people's clothes off if their outfit is offensive and you don't want to look at it for another second. And another button that puts them back on if the alternative is worse
A special GPS that hones in on the nearest pigeon who's desperate for the loo, and sends them directly above the awkward conversation you need to get out of
A button to open up a hole in the floor when people who tell you about their dreams
When someone makes a sexist remark, press a button to give you an instant, full-on beard
A claw that comes out of your phone and separates touchy-feely couples on the morning commute. Pair with a deadpan expression for full effect.
An app that plays music over people's voices when you ask them how they are and they actually start to answer the question with an answer that extends beyond "I'm good thanks"
A laser that temporarily blinds the person delivering your takeaway so they can't judge you
A real-life Photoshop, in case the person you're talking to has a facial feature that really annoys you
A button that gives you a new hairstyle so you're mildly, but not inconveniently, unrecognisable to people getting on the bus who you know but don't want to talk to
Chairs that start spinning violently when someone in a coffee shop is only pretending to do work on their laptop