If this system is efficient at finding perfect matches, it is also efficient at sorting people according to existing social hierarchies—applying what Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic called "algorithmic perversity." Some people will use online dating to constantly trade up—maybe ditch a sick or unemployed spouse—and that will also speed up other processes, like the widening of social inequality.
When he wanders off to a new partner, he leaves one behind.
She might or might not have the same options to exercise.
Inequality Second, I think it's possible that—in addition to undermining what's left of monogamy—the spread of online dating will widen some social inequalities.
Remember those left behind by Jacob's wandering webcam eye in the article?
But thanks to the new online dating landscape, the language of love has gotten a whole lot more complicated.
Just as you figured out what ‘sexting’ was, in came a whole host of new-fangled relationship jargon.
But remember, divorce rates have probably been falling more or less continuously since about 1980.
And it is the less well-off who have been marrying less and divorcing (relatively) more.
The same happens with articles about parenting, or biological clocks, or cohabitation—all the family decisions for which choices appear to be multiplying.
And it may be true that people are less content when they have more choices—but I bet it's also true that the effect is magnified when the extent of their choices is hyped and rehyped, and evaluated by competing experts.
So online dating may be affecting a fair number of Jacobs and their partners, but it hasn't remade all of our relationships yet.