System Error

Elaine Kasket
7 min readOct 10, 2023

Could ChatGPT help me get to the bottom of a spooky iPhone glitch?

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Years ago, my sister was sizing up a potential love match, on a dating site that used psychological questionnaires to pair you with the perfect person. The candidate’s photo was shot from an unusual angle, and he looked vaguely familiar in a way she couldn’t quite put her finger on. She read down and under ‘pet hates’ he said he couldn’t stand food with specks, or condiments of any kind. That’s when she realised. She’d been matched with her ex-husband.

She rang me about it. ‘You’re a psychologist,’ she said. ‘The computer’s matched us. It’s, like, scientific. Did I make a mistake divorcing him?’

Of course not, I said. What can an algorithm know about love?

But that was a long time ago.

Now we’ve got big data, surveillance capitalism, technology that knows us better than we know ourselves. But I still want to believe what I told my sister. Love is unpredictable, organic, pheromonal. If a computer makes these decisions for us, where’s the magic?

I had a magical relationship once. No computers involved — we met the old-fashioned way, in a gothic-industrial club between the dungeon and the dance floor. We knew right away that our connection was miraculous, but in case we forgot it, there were signs. Uncanny things.



Elaine Kasket

Speaker, coach, cyberpsychologist. Author of REBOOT: Reclaiming Your Life in a Tech-Obsessed World and All the Ghosts in the Machine.