How a Dating Site Proved Society Is Doomed
The Cracked Podcast #54 November 17, 2014
When the founders of OkCupid started one of the most popular dating sites on the Internet, they didn’t intend to find out all of humanity’s deep, dark secrets. All they wanted was to help people make babies. However, they accidentally ended up with a treasure trove of information about the difference between what people say (and even think) about themselves and what they actually do – and you won’t like it.
By analyzing the language and behavior of OkCupid users, they’ve determined that you’re probably a lot more racist than you think, and you can actually guess someone’s race with a stunning degree of accuracy based on what they care about. (It involves lumberjack music festivals.) You’re also probably a lot gayer, unless you actually label yourself as bisexual. The Internet as a whole is rife with this data -– you can even track the voting results for the 2008 election by mapping which areas of the country Googled racist jokes. But you shouldn’t be afraid of leaving these trails of data, because it means that in the future, history will no longer be written by the winners, and every one of us is a potential Anne Frank.
This week on the podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien, Michael Swaim and Alex Schmidt are joined by one of the cofounders of OkCupid, Christian Rudder, to discuss his recent book, Dataclysm, and how the 21st century will be defined by the enormous amounts of data that can be found by digging through your virtual trash.