The premise would make for a fun dating app - give each party the opportunity to “like” replies left by other “invisibles,” then attempt to match people based on like patterns.
I’m accepting donations to aide in the development of my Cloaked Catfish app.
I wasn’t sure what to think about this story and this service.
I was kind of torn between the rose-tinted:
“How nice, thousands of people value the little human interactions of a relationship so much that they’re willing to jump right into this.”
which then took a sharp turn into the deeply cynical “This is the ultimate expression of alienation and commodification of human relationships, with a dash of low wage exploitation thrown in”
I asked myself- who would sign up for this sort of thing, when it looks exactly like a carefully laid trap for human emotions?
Then I saw on their FAQ
“Hoping to buy some time and convince my parents I’m in a relationship until I’m ready to come out”
Okay, Now I get it.
In the linked article the author mentions making a nickel for each text, and how more users seemed to be interested in honestly talking rather than conducting a Turing test.
I’m reminded of Lucy’s sign in Peanuts: “Psychiatry: 5 cents.”
The pay was what stood out to me as well, so I had to crunch the very basic numbers: you’d have to average slightly better than a text every 25 seconds to make minimum wage. That includes the time needed to accept the “job” for each response, read the relevant history, think of a reply, and type it. Frankly, with models like this so popular, I’ll be surprised if we aren’t all “independent contractors” within a decade.
But they are also uber driving on the side, so it all works out.
I just hope Reed Richards treats his invisible girlfriend with the respect she deserves.
It’s hard to believe that paying $0.01/minute even covers the electricity and internet bill required to do the job.
Back in the Good Old Days, women could work for fifty cents on the dollar because it was assumed they had a husband with a real paycheck. For years, the new model has been under-thirties working for peanuts while sleeping on Mom’s sofa. That’s trying to grow until it engulfs us all - but there isn’t an endless supply of moms.
Welcome to globalization. Now you get to compete on equal terms with illiterate peasants in western China. I hear it’s going to make us all millionaires.
Is she Canadian?
This reminds me very much of the relationship Miranda has with Nell in The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. In that case it’s familial (sort-of) instead of romantic. Otherwise the details are nearly identical.
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