Computer dating service
Psychedelia and New Journalism, civil rights and the Velvet Underground, JFK and the sexual revolution. Decades before Match.com, Ok Cupid, and Craigslist there existed a different sort of online interaction.
The last gift spawned something else entirely -- the 1960s introduced us to computer dating. The 1960s sport carried many of the same hazards and thrills as virtual matchmaking today.
It emphasizes the perils that, even now, many ascribe to romance via machine: Couples who meet by computer tend to be embarrassed and even hostile. It cost to sign up, and more than a million romantic souls had responded during the service's first years.magazine: "How To Be Comfortable With Computer Dating." The ad, promoting a dating service called Compatibility, strains to build credibility for the company, emphasizing its size, ethics, and the power of the service's computers ("The IBM 360/40 Computers that are used for us, we are told, will do more in an hour than a highly qualified individual can do in a year"). Computer dating also experienced transatlantic popularity -- this 1972 British ad encourages you to join "Britain's most sophisticated and successful computer dating service" to "meet your kind of people." Naturally, these services wanted to give an impression of exclusivity, some pretense that they "try to weed out the obvious social misfits" as the These dating services evolved quickly in subsequent decades.
Drinking takes care of the embarrassment but not the hostility. People began using phones and more photos, and by the 1980s, video and primitive chat rooms on the early Internet (think of New York's 50 BSS computer networks that existed around 1984, which offered 24-hour-a-day flirting right at your keyboard).
"The program compared one member of a “class”—one man—with all members of the other class—women—and then repeated this for all members of the first class.
The couple—a member from each class—with the lowest difference score was then matched, and the process repeated for the remaining members of each class.
Any time of profound social change calls for a good date. Or both do., journalist Gay Talese described pornographer-to-be Al Goldstein as a subscriber to a "computer dating service" circa the mid-'60s (though apparently the service was, like many during this era, fraudulent).
magazine declared back in 1967, "and the computer-dating service is growing as steadily as the price of a share of IBM." The article describes "punchcard-plotted introductions" that cost to 0. Harvard students founded a landmark computer-dating service around the same time, and as the reported in 1965, "Their banner reads 'SEX,' their creed is written on the circuits of a computer, and their initial organized uprising is called Operation Match." A black-and-white video celebrates the "computer marriages" emerging from Operation Match by 1968.
A “difference” score was then computed for each possible male-female pair.Thus, the first couple selected was the “best” match.As fewer couples remained in the pool, the matched couples had larger and larger difference scores.Student nurses from the Veterans Administration psychiatric hospital on Willow Road in Menlo Park were often invited.The boys represented themselves to the nurses as the “SRI Junior Engineers Social Club”—which was at least partially true, since one Los Trancos housemate worked summers and part-time as a junior engineer at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).