Valentine's Day with Artificial Intelligence

valentine card kids
When love was easy. Or at least easier.

Since my dating days were before dating became an online thing and literally before online was a thing, I haven't really kept up with dating and technology. 

I have friends who got divorced and dipped back into dating and used online dating apps. Over 300 million people use dating apps worldwide, according to a 2023 report by Business of Apps. To visualize this figure, it’s almost the entire population of the U.S. or half of Europe’s population.

Tinder is an online dating and geosocial networking application launched in 2012. On Tinder, users “swipe right” to like or “swipe left” to dislike other users’ profiles. A profile has their photos, a short bio, and some of their interests. Tinder uses a “double opt-in” system, also called “matching”, where two users must like each other before they can exchange messages. In 2022, Tinder had 10.9 million subscribers and 75 million monthly active users.

Renate Nyborg was Tinder’s first female CEO, but she recently left the popular dating app and launched Meeno which is described as relationship advice rather than dating. For example, you might ask for advice about dealing with your boss. The Meeno app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve relationship problems. She predicts that the future will be less about online dating and more about real-life encounters.

The numbers for online dating are huge but Nyborg and others see a trend (with Gen Z in particular – 18 to 25-year-olds) that they are more interested in meeting people organically.

When she left Tinder, she had said she wanted to use tech to “help people feel less lonely” and dating is only a part of that. According to a 2023 report on loneliness commissioned by the European Commission, at least 10% of European Union residents feel lonely most of the time. A Pew Research study revealed that 42% of adults surveyed in the US said they had felt lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, Meeno is intended to be your mentor, distinct from a virtual girlfriend, boyfriend, clinical therapist, or coach.

What can AI do in all this? Broadly, AI can speed up the processing of all these apps. It can analyze very quickly user behavior patterns and datasets to identify potential matches based on shared interests, values, and preferences. AI can filter profiles for inappropriate content, such as nudity or hate speech. It can analyze a user’s swiping patterns, interests, answers to questions, and personality results to introduce them to tailored recommendations.

There are other apps, like Blush, Aimm, Rizz, and Teaser AI, that use personality tests and physical type analysis to train AI-powered systems. Some apps use machine learning algorithms to scan for attraction and then suggest images of real people that the app thinks the user might find attractive. these are more for “dating” than everyday relationships which is Meeno’s current target.

This post first appeared in a different format on Weekends in Paradelle

Teaching Apprenticeships

When I was studying to become a teacher in the 1970s, the only "apprenticeships" were my student teaching experiences. At Rutgers, I went into secondary classrooms in a limited way in my sophomore and junior years and did my "student teaching" every day for an entire 15-week semester as a senior.

You might associate apprenticeships as a way of enabling students to learn by doing, but it is often used with vocational training where a more experienced tradesman or journeyman models behavior and provides feedback when the student attempts what was shown.

A teaching apprenticeship is a program that allows prospective teachers to work in schools while earning a paycheck and getting training. Apprenticeships are paid programs that can last one to three years. They offer on-the-job learning, mentorship, and a postgraduate-level qualification without tuition fees.

teaching mentorAlternate route programs for teachers are designed for people who want to become certified teachers but have not completed a formal teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university.

Where I live in New Jersey, the Alternate Route Teaching Certificate Program is a two-year program that includes 400 hours (24 credits) of education courses. The program is also known as the Provisional Teacher Process (PTP). The program is designed for people who have earned an Instructional Certificate of Eligibility (CE) and have been provisionally hired by a New Jersey public school district. Alternate route teachers earn a Certificate of Eligibility (CE). 

The program accommodates student schedules as they teach in a full-time teaching position simultaneously while completing required coursework. To pursue an alternative teaching program, you typically need to possess a bachelor's degree at minimum.

An article on The Future of Teaching Apprenticeships, discusses how apprenticeships provide an innovative way for educators to experience real-life challenges and hone their professional skills. They allow aspiring educators to gain hands-on experience, mentorship, and practice in actual classrooms.

Educator apprenticeships strongly emphasize mentorship, pairing novices with experienced educators who serve as their guides throughout the program. Unfortunately, there are few programs like this for higher education teachers.

This mentor-mentee relationship allows apprentices to benefit from the wisdom and expertise of seasoned professionals while also receiving ongoing support, constructive feedback, and opportunities to reflect on teaching practices. The mentor model is not new and is cited as a best practice, according to the Educator Prep Lab at the Learning Policy Institute, and is backed by a rich evidence base that prioritizes educator retention in the profession and other similar factors championed by teacher residency programs. 

Simple AI-Generated Imagery Programs

Cross-posted from my blog at


Artificial intelligence scares some people. When AI takes over human roles and takes the form of a human, that is quite scary. AI writing essays scares teachers and pleases students. It also scares people whose income comes from writing. None of us want to be replaced by a machine.

I have found that AI used to create images seems to be less scary. Oh sure, if I were a graphic designer, artist, or photographer, I would be frightened that my career could be replaced by AI. And you have heard the horror stories about "deep fakes" of photos and videos. But I have been playing with a few simple programs for generating images using AI. These are all free - for now. I do some drawing, painting, and photography myself with my hands, but I would not rate them as professional and this AI method is just so easy. 

One of the first things I tried was Microsoft Bing  These programs are very easy to use. You input text - a prompt - describing what you want to see created. The more detailed the prompt, the more likely it is that you will get a result that matches the one in your imagination. Beyond that, you don't have a lot of control. You can't choose colors for small parts of the image but you can describe a style (like a Renaissance painting, or anime, etc.) and add details.

For example, you could ask for an illustration of a woman. That is very broad. Let's try again - an Asian woman on a computer monitor. How about a man creating an image of an Asian woman using his phone and Bing and projecting it on a monitor. Okay, just as a test of its capabilities, let's add a small teddy bear.

Here is the result:

Search and you'll find lots of these programs. is another one. I also liked experimenting with I went down a similar path asking variations on a woman standing by a wall, sitting by a lake, etc. 

I'll keep posting things I create on this site and I will be using them for a lot of my posts online.

I would like to see more control over these simple tools - such as being able to start with a photo of my own - and they are not perfect in following prompts. Did you notice that in the image at the top, Bing misspelled Bing?

4 variations on a monochrome man walking in the woods prompt

Happy Birthday Serendipity35

android birhday

Serendipity35 - they/he/him/we - is/are now 18 years old.

In the United States, 18-year-olds are considered adults and can legally do many things. So, I suppose this blog can now:

  1. 18-year-olds can vote in elections, which influences who becomes president
  2. Create a legal will
  3. Healthy people 18 and older can donate blood.
  4. Legally enter into binding contracts, including opening a checking account, taking out a loan, or purchasing a car.
  5. Apply for a credit card, but whether they are accepted depends on the lender's criteria.
  6. 18 is the upper age range for getting a driver's license in all states.
  7. Play the lottery: 18-year-olds are considered adults in the U.S. and can legally play the lottery.
  8. Get married
  9. Get a tattoo

What should we do first?