When I was in college, one of my professors told me how he used to run (within the student community) an Internet dating system. No clever profiles or carefully-angled photos: all you needed to put was your name, your times of availability, and a decent helping of good faith. Once a week it would match up everyone, assigning each person a partner, a time, and a date activity.
The cool part: it was completely random. No "match percentage," no "29 dimensions of compatibility," no lists of interests--it didn't even consider gender or orientation. (You could meet a great friend... "or discover something about yourself," said the professor, who was kinda one of those professors, y'know.)
I think this is great. More than great; if I knew how to code it I would be building a version of this right now. Because I think over-selectivity is one of the banes of modern society. When I was in elementary school we had three TV channels and no VCR. Now I've got BitTorrent and Hulu, I can watch anything I want at any time. And, y'know, I'm not sure that I'm happier. Options are cool and all, but I don't discover shows any more, I select them. If a show sounds bad to me but I'd actually love it, or if I've simply never heard of a show, I'll never watch it.
As with TV shows, so with people. The ability to only interact with people who share your politics and subculture and fetishes and look good to you is awesome... but it's a goddamn curse. Saying "I only want to meet 20-something single kinky libertarian straight men who enjoy science fiction but also hiking" is all about closing doors. It's not that I necessarily want to date a 40-year-old vanilla Christian Conservative--but the fact that I'd never even talk to him makes my life boring and insular. And the fact that I also might not talk to a 20-something single kinky hippie straight man saps my chances at Ultimate Pairing Happiness.
Most of the good friendships and relationships in my life (online and not) came about randomly--we were in the same Bio class, we were next-door neighbors, we found each other's blogs with the "random" function, we got assigned to the same shift. Hell, I still talk to a guy I met three years ago when he dialed my phone number at random out of the phonebook.
I believe that we would like more people than we think, and the selectivity and ultra-narrowing effects of traditional online dating keep us from realizing it. Bring on RandomDate! As singles and as human beings, we need it.
(In all seriousness, if I can figure out the technical aspects I'm going to come up with a cute name and launch this puppy. At least for the Seattle area, maybe nationwide. I'll make millions.)