Have Dating Apps Killed Romance? Experts Debated (and Found the Answer)

What is romance? Ask a thousand people, and you'll likely get a thousand responses. Romance isn't quantifiable by numbers or statistics and therefore, isn't easy to define—but listen to love songs or watch a romantic comedy, and you'll recognize the unmistakable symptoms of this infatuating feeling called love.

"The first thing that happens when you fall in love is the person takes on what we call special meaning," said Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author of Anatomy of Love, in a recent Intelligence Squared Debate. "Everything about them becomes special—the street they live on, the music that they like. You focus on them. You get elated when things are going well, have mood swings when things are going poorly. But what you really want them to do is to call, to write, to ask you out, and to tell you that they love you."

We've all been there—we've all felt that ping in our hearts for that one person that we simply cannot get out of our minds. But even though love is one of the most basic human instincts, it's not an easy one to master. For decades, we've been trying to quantify love—and in the age of dating apps, we've made it our mission to decode it with algorithms. We believe that romance is somehow a numbers game—the more we play, the better the odds. But is that really the case?

Last week, OkCupid VP of Engineering Tom Jacques and Fisher, who is also Match.com's scientific advisor, came together at Intelligence Squared to argue that dating apps are designed to find love. Their opponents, WNYC's Note to Self host Manoush Zomorodi and Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance co-author Eric Klinenberg, argued that online dating has killed romance. Who won, and more importantly, what were the arguments for (and against) dating in the world of apps? Ahead, we delve into the complicated world of finding love in the digital age.