The Love App Environment

Love Alarm, a Korean show, on Netflix, is like social media meets science fiction – Ghost in the Shell, for the romantic drama genre. The titular app works on various indicators like heart rate, respiratory rate, perspiration, and so forth.

Love Alarm and Heart Shield are fictional apps that operate like the mind and the heart are a computer or a phone, that needs cyber defense. The Love Alarm can be held back, from matching two people, by another software – a Love Alarm plug-in, from that app’s developer ecosystem.

The core debate at stake is what is love? And who gets to define it? An app? Physiology? Hormones? Society? If someone thinks they are in love, are they not in love? It’s an ongoing discussion, from Facebook, to Tinder and Grinder, to The Circle, to now, Joh-a (Love, 좋아) Alarm.

It is said that ‘perception is reality’ but if someone’s circumstances cause their perception to be unreliable, or if a group of people are mislead or misinformed, is what they perceive truly reality? This of course begins to segue into philosophy, medicine (including psychology), sociology and ethics.

I’ve been on the fence about whether I would support a Love Alarm, if it were a real app. On one hand you’d be able to figure out if you truly liked someone, and weren’t just fascinated or intrigued by them. On the other hand, as the show aptly illustrates, there would be many societal and cultural hang-ups and drawbacks, to having such a software say for sure, scientifically, whether two people actually like each other – or not.