Even for those of us who are old enough to have memories of a time before the internet, it's sometimes hard to really remember what life was like before we all were walking around with supercomputers in our pockets.
Take datingfor instance. Twenty years ago no one met online.
These days one third of marriages start with a few clicks or a swipe. Because that change seems entirely natural to us now, it's easy to forget how big a shift this represents.
And even easier to forget to wonder how it's changed things when it comes to romantic relationships. Thankfully, a pair of international researchers, Josue Ortega of the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich of the University of Vienna, are on the case.
As the MIT Technology Review recently reported the pair have been busy hypothesizing about how the rise of online dating might affect society and then comparing these predictions to real-world data. In the old days, most people met their partner through friends of friends or acquaintances. You ended up marrying your best friend's cousin or your golf buddy's wife's friend.
These days, thanks to technology, many more of us end up paired up with people who were perfect strangers before some algorithm brought them to our attention. One knock-on effect of this is increasing rates of interracial marriage, the researchers suspect.