Love is Not Free. The Price is 99 Cents.

lnf99An in-depth look at the placebo effect of believing that mathematical calculations can predict the outcome of a completely human relationship.

99 cents seems to be the ideal price for apps for our smart phones and tablets. People download hundreds of these programs everyday, basing their purchase on a snippet of information, usually from the mouth of a friend.

In this tale, such an app to help you find the perfect soul mate has reached an all time high rank in popularity. Couples are boasting that uCupid matched them up perfectly (99.97% according to the statistics). The app asks you hundreds of seemingly random but personal questions at the rate of five per day. Then it chooses your match and all you have to do is accept. (“Decline” is not an available option.)

David and Lily have been married for a few years and have a baby. Each of them separately and secretly downloads uCupid, thinking they’d play along just for fun. David’s brother created the app, after all. Neither of them suspected what would inevitably happen.

Xavier Dekker, the creator of the uCupid app, knows little to nothing about relationships. He is on the autism spectrum and does not understand social cues or know how to exhibit appropriate emotions. He created the app using mathematical algorithms that eventually select the closest match after an array of questions are answered. He doesn’t anticipate the issues the app might cause in the world outside the computer.

Given the story from a variety of points-of-view, though mostly David, we watch the scenario unfold. Set up with a distant but “happy” marriage of David and Lily in the beginning, we are offered glimpses into David’s family history and subtle clues into the truth behind how Lily feels about being a wife and mother that feed into the growing issues with the popular app.

“She didn’t want to sound selfish – but perhaps there was no avoiding the truth, that there is something inherently selfish about falling in love.”

4 Stars




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