I tested an AI dating app – it promised better options but I still suffered cringe opening lines and 'maybe' matches | The Sun

DATING isn't easy and has only proven more difficult in the age of short attention spans and social media.

I decided to try my luck with an artificial intelligence-based dating app – but the results have been quite mixed.

iris calls itself “your personal matchmaker” as users walk through the step-by-step process to train the app's AI technology.

To do so, users are prompted to go through different modules of ranking stock photos to train the technology to understand facial features they find most attractive.

Potential matches can be located anywhere around the world – which is definitely intriguing for someone like me who has traveled to nearly 40 countries across all seven continents.

“I started this company because I believe that mutual attraction is the most precious commodity. It always, for thousands of years, was incredibly rare,” Igor Khalatian, founder and CEO of iris Dating, said in one of the app's welcome videos.

The videos – which appear with every new phase of training the app – feature a variety of tips aimed to enhance user experience as they engage with the app and its technology.

It's suggested that by taking the time to watch each video, users will have an easier time understanding the app and finding better matches.

While the jury's still out on that, I did take the time to watch each and every video that popped up as I began my journey with iris.


To start, users have to upload a selfie to prove they’re real and not a robot, as iris advocates against catfishing.

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Additional photos can be added to the profile later.

When taking the selfie, the app explicitly states: “No nudity / No minors / No group photos.”

It really wants to see a user's face clearly so they can best be matched with others – which makes sense given the premise of the app.

iris then asks you to pick your “flavors," or hobbies, interests, and passions.

Flavors was an odd word choice that gave me pause, but I carried on after choosing my eight interests.


“Hi! I’m iris. I can get you to a date faster using Artificial Intelligence," the app's screen then reads, as users enter Phase 1.

The three phases are for users to teach iris about their type and preferences when it comes to a romantic interest.

iris then shows users random stock photos to learn more about their likes and dislikes.

"I will even know who finds you attractive before they see your profile!" the app claims.

Users have the ability to select from three options when each new photo appears: Like, Maybe, or Pass.

From Phase 1 to Phase 2, the app claims that users “should see a slight improvement in the amount of photos you’re attracted to.”

Personally, I didn't find much of a difference and was passing on nearly every photo that was shown.

During Phase 3, the app claims: “I will continue to refine your #AttractionDNA."

I did choose "like" on more photos during Phase 3, which gave me more hope.

At the end of the three phases, users add a bio with a max of 1,000 characters.

Then, the app sorts profiles into two groups: iris picks, which “searches for chemistry all over the world" and Discover, which gives priority to those within close proximity.

“If iris detects a high level of mutual attraction — we will pay for an airline ticket so you two can meet! Contact us for details," the app states.

The U.S. Sun has reached out to iris to learn more about this offer.


As I continued through the phases and onto the actual selection of potential matches, I encountered a handful of roadblocks.

In order to see all of your matches – including those who have "liked" you – you have to pay for a subscription to the app.

This differs from the basic versions of other dating apps like Hinge, where users can see all of their matches, but have a set amount of likes that can be used each day.

It was definitely frustrating to go through all of the app's phases only to then discover that I wouldn't be able to see all of my potential matches.

It was also odd to me – given the three options available on each new profile revealed to me – that every time I selected "maybe," that person would then wind up in my Matches section if they "liked" me.

I believe there should be a separate option for the "maybes" instead of having them lumped into the "likes."


It was exciting to see that – after spending so much time training the app – matches began to pop up.

Some definitely fit my "type" more than others.

But the first person to reach out and begin a conversation captured my attention – and not necessarily in the best way.

“Hi I’d like to take you to the movies, but they don’t let you bring in your own snacks," he began.

"How are you feeling?”

While I appreciated the effort (kind of), cheesy pickup lines don't really do it for me.

I did, however, later have an entire conversation in Spanish with a man located in Brazil, which was quite lovely.


As someone who has traveled around the world and back, it's exciting to think that I could match with someone from another country by using iris.

The idea of engaging in conversation with people who have different upbringings and are immersed in different cultures is exactly what thrills me about dating at this stage of life.

In that regard, an app like iris could definitely work for someone like me.

I also recognize that the premise of choosing potential matches based largely on looks is superficial – though, in 2023, nothing is as it seems anyway thanks to social media and apps like Facetune.

However, the app definitely has some flaws that detract from the user experience.

The AI technology didn't – and still doesn't – thrill me and I'm not quite convinced that it works.

Each day, I'm still finding far more people I "pass" on than I "maybe" or "like."

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While I recognize that the app is new and doesn't have as large of a user base as other apps, it's still disappointing to think that I spent so much time training the technology only to encounter an overwhelming number of people who are completely not my "type."

I'm hopeful that as the app and technology continue to grow and evolve, there are more intriguing potential matches – and maybe even real-life dates – in my future.

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