Red or green: Point your phone at a fitty to reveal if they’re single?

By Kitty Knowles 23 February 2017

This is the 'traffic light party' of the future, says Tinder CEO Sean Rad.

Did you go to a ‘traffic light party’ at university?

The retro idea revolves around making everyones relationship status public, by inviting guests to wear red (taken, and not interested), yellow (open-minded) or green (single and ready to mingle).

Now, Sean Rad, CEO of dating goliath Tinder, wants to bring the concept into the digital age – with augmented reality.

Smartphone flirting

We’re used to using our smartphones to flirt online, and even to Facebook stalk people you fancy to see if they’re available.

But augmented reality (AR) – well-known from Pokemon Go – will have you investigating potential suitors in a whole new way.

In the future you could simply point your camera at someone to virtually reveal their relationship status, said Rad this week, at the Startup Grind Global Conference in California.

See a fitty in the street? Angle your smartphone at them, and imagery will pop up on your phone to let you know if they’re single, in a relationship, or somewhere in-between.

“That will definitely impact dating,” Rad said, noting Tinder is popular for so many people because it allows us to show interest in a person without the fear of rejection.

“You can imagine how, with augmented reality, that experience could happen in the room, in real time.”

Combined with artificial intelligence (to learn your preferences) this could even start to direct you to matches in your local vicinity.

“Tinder might pop up and say ‘There’s someone down the street you might be attracted to. She’s also attracted to you. She’s free tomorrow night. We know you both like the same band, and it’s playing – would you like us to buy you tickets?’,” said Rad.

Data on your sleeve

Of course for all this to work it would involve sharing your data with Tinder (and your potential matches) freely.

If the hottie at the bar doesn’t consent to this, you might miss out on a fantastic flirting opportunity.

What’s really concerning however, is that if we choose to know everything about our prospective partners before we meet them, the simple joys of flirting are put at risk.

The awkward do-si-do of working out who’s available, who’s interested, and how best to chat them up would become obsolete.

Isn’t that uncertainty a big part of the excitement and rush that makes us all human?

If you’re heading out tonight, you probably already know if you’re red, yellow or green.

But best to think of the consequences before you turn your light on.