Computers open up the world of relationships – archive, 11 November 1983

Belying its innocent names, like Acorn, Apple or Pet, the home computer is moving into the most intimate of human fields.

Cassettes called I Do and The Dating Game can devastate your social life for only £12.65 each. After playing a few bars from Love and Marriage and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, they grill the operator mercilessly.

“Martin,” said my demonstration model forwardly, “would you watch an execution, given the chance? Would you prefer to make love in a field of new-mown hay or in front of mirrors? After a meal, do you instinctively want to wash up, dance naked, or watch a blue video?

Mr Ivan Berg of Acorn Computers who has the ideas for this sort of software and a colleague, Caroline Gasgoine, acted as guinea pigs.

Their sex compatibility, after the computer had digested their answers to 19 questions, was 69 per cent. As far as working together went, the percentage chance of success was 92.

Mr Berg agreed that the programs would be widely used for fun but suggested that marriage counsellors or couples with problems might find them a genuine help. The I Do cassette involves 400 questions about life and partner devised by Hans Eysenck, Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London University.

The author of the second cassette, The Dating Game, is Dr Glenn Wilson, also of the institute, said: “Imagine you meet someone and start chatting.” You can go over to the computer and find out whether you should continue to have a drink together.”

At the highest level of the answer is: “If you’re not already together, you should be thinking seriously about it.” At the other end of the scale, the computer warns : “Stay away from each other if you want to avoid bloodshed.”

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Mr Berg emphasised that the cassettes carry a no guarantee disclaimer.


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