Modern technologies and social media platforms have unquestionably redefined a great many aspects of our everyday rituals, customs and behaviors. Nowhere is this more apparent than in matters of human connection and love. The Mobile Love Industry, a provocative new documentary short from VICE, explores this phenomenon as it relates to the mobile app.
The old traditions of boy meets girl have given way to a brave new frontier of online dating. The conquest of intimacy, or at least a reasonable facsimile of, is more immediate than ever before. In fact, it could be as close as the application installed on your smart phone.
Dating applications like Tinder have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years, but do they spell an end to good old fashioned romance? Flesh and blood encounters have been replaced with reams of data and personality profiling. Proponents of these blossoming technologies insist that it provides companionship seekers with greater freedom than ever before. In their view, users can locate more compatible partners than would otherwise be possible, and have their pick from a massive pool of candidates without the barriers of social awkwardness or geography.
On the flip side, according to the skeptics, this abundance of choice is paradoxically limiting: when you have so many options at your fingertips, you might be less prone to settle down and invest as fully as you should in the potential future love of your life.
The tone of The Modern Love Industry is largely vivid, youthful and energetic, but the darker undertones of its subject matter are inescapable. The sexual revolution brought forth from online dating and hook-up technology can often serve as a breeding ground for sexual addicts, hackers and cyber stalkers. These dangers are particularly pronounced as the technologies become bolder and more risqué, as they have in the controversial London-based application 3nder.
Do these concerns just represent an irrational fear of technology, or is the mobile dating phenomenon actually inflicting detrimental effects on the culture of human connection? It may be too early to tell. In the meantime, The Mobile Love Industry provides substantial food for thought.