With apps like Tinder and Bumble, dating has taken on a new appearance. We like to think that we’re in total control of our intimate lives, making our own decisions when it comes to swiping left or right, but that’s not the case. A recent 60 Minute story followed a Harvard scientist named George Church working on a dating app that matches people by DNA to eliminate all genetic diseases. It’s both cisheternormative and pro-natalist. The story not only illuminates how future plans for dating apps are flirting with eugenics but the role of tech in legitimizing terrible sciences.
Although the word “eugenics” is never explicitly used by 60 Minutes, its legacy is clear within Church’s work. If you’re unfamiliar, eugenics intends to “improve” the genetic quality of humans through selective breeding. That means not only looking to pair people who have “desirable” traits, but also getting rid of the undesirables, like by force sterilizing poor people, disabled people, and people of color.