It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.For Valentine’s Day, 1961, the cartoonist Charles Addams—of Addams Family fame—drew a futuristic cover for the New Yorker.Any time of profound social change calls for a good date."Inevitably, the singles game is putting technology to use," 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.
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 showed a massive, wall-sized computer, with hundreds of blinking lights, ejecting a tiny paper card with a red heart on it for its operator, who was dwarfed by the computer’s hulking form.
The drawing of the computer was supposedly based on the huge SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator) mainframe that IBM had shown off in its Madison Avenue showroom in New York City from 1948-1952.
Operation Match (part of Compatibility Research Inc.) launches.
Started by Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill at Harvard. "In one distribution of questionnaires, he drew eleven thousand responses at each, or ,000 in gross profits, about 0,000 in today's dollars." Classifieds made a comeback in America in the 1960s and 1970s, encouraged by the era's inclination toward individualism and social exhibitionism.
The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.
The article also upsets the notion that computer dating systems can simply be understood as a version of the “boys and their toys” narrative that has dominated much of computing history.
Some of us are lucky, we just stumble across the one we are going to share our lives with.