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双语:经济学中的爱情---优化浪漫

2016-02-19    来源:Eco中文论坛    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语:经济学中的爱情---优化浪漫

To find true love, it helps to understand the economic principles underpinning the search
优化浪漫为的是找到真爱,同时也有助于理解支撑起寻找的经济学原理

DATING is a treacherous business. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, yet many are unhygienic, self-absorbed, disconcertingly attached to ex-fish, or fans of Donald Trump. Digital dating sites, including a growing array of matchmaking apps, are meant to help. Their design owes more to hard-nosed economics than it does to the mysteries of the heart.
约会是一庄有风险的买卖。人海茫茫,各种各样的人都有。但是,大多数都是不讲卫生、自私自恋或者是尴尬地依附于前任的人,或者是特朗普的粉丝。数字约会网站,包括数量正在不断增加的各种配对app,意在帮人们一把。它们的设计更多的是归功于实用经济学,而不是心灵的秘密。
 
In a sense, searching for a mate is not so different from hunting for a job. Jobs, like prospective partners, have their strengths and weaknesses, which makes finding the right one a matter of complicated trade-offs. Such exchanges are different from other transactions, in that both parties must be enthusiastic about the match for it to happen. A supermarket, in contrast, does not particularly care whose wallet it is draining, nor does the power company agonize about whether a customer is worthy of its watts.
从一定意义上说,寻找真爱与寻找工作没有什么不一样。工作,如同是意中人,既有优点也有缺点,这让找到正确的另一半成了一件耗时费神之事。这种交流不同于其他的交易,双方必须对即将发生的配对充满激情。与之相比,超市是不会特别在意自己正在榨取谁的钱包的,电力公司也不会对客户是否值自己发的电而烦恼。
 
Alvin Roth, who won a Nobel prize in economics for his work on market design, made a career of studying such “matching markets”, where supply and demand are not balanced by price. Instead, people transact based on information. An apple-seller can nudge down his prices until the whole cart is sold. Yet if Apple were looking to hire two workers, it would not set a salary so puny that only two people applied. The quality of new hires often matters at least as much as their salaries.
曾因市场设计研究获得过一次诺贝尔经济学奖的阿尔文·罗斯的专项就是研究此类“配对市场”。在配对市场中,供需的平衡不取决于价格。相反,人们是基于信息进行交易的。一位苹果商贩可能会把价格降至整筐苹果被售出为止。但是,如果苹果公司要雇佣两位员工,它就不会设置一种适用范围小到只有两个人薪水。新员工的质量至少经常是与他们的薪水同样重要的。
 
Mr Roth, who won the prize jointly with Lloyd Shapely in 2012, found that the structure of matching markets made a significant difference in determining who wound up with whom. Systems designed to elicit people's true preferences generated better matches between hospitals and doctors, for example. But the entire medical profession has an interest in improving matches, and so can set up a national clearing house to do just that. The lovelorn must instead rely on an array of digital matchmakers.
曾在2012年与劳埃德·沙普利分享诺奖的罗斯发现,配对市场的结构会在决定谁与谁配对方面产生明显的差异。例如,为突出人们的真正喜好而设计出来的系统曾在医院和医生之间产生了较好的配对。但是,整个医疗行业的兴趣在于改进配对,以便能够搭建起一个全国性的交换平台来做这种事。单恋之人反而必须要依赖众多的数字配对者。
 
Good matches depend on good information. Even without digital help, people usually have some inkling of how much they have in common. Cosmopolitan strives move to New York, say, rather than sleepier cities, in part because they will meet other ambitious types with similar interests. Within New York, the places people choose to spend their time—whether Yankee Stadium or a yoga studio—determine which sorts of people they come into contact with. Because it is expensive to live in New York, and to spend time sweating in a yoga studio or swearing in the
stands, people in such settings can be reasonably confident those around them are in some sense like-minded.
好的配对取决于好的信息。即便没有数字的帮助,人们通常也会对双方的共同之处有个大概的认识。比如说,去大城市打拼的人之所以要去纽约而不是一些沉闷的城市,部分原因就在于他们能在大城市中遇到志同道合之人。在纽约,人们选择去消磨时间的地方——不管是洋基体育场还是瑜伽馆——决定了他们所遇到的人的类型。鉴于在纽约生活、去瑜伽馆中流汗或是在看台上发泄的成本很高,因而,在这种环境下,人们是能够对周围多少都是志同道合的人充满信心的。
 
But one critical bit of information is missing: whether there is mutual interest. The act of asking someone out is fraught. In the non-digital world, approaching a potential partner brings the risk of awkwardness or humiliation. Digital dating reduces this cost dramatically. Apps like Tinder and Happen, for example, reveal that a user likes another only when the feeling is mutual.
但是,一个关键的信息在这里被遗漏了:是不是有共同的兴趣。当面询问的行为是不礼貌的。在非数字世界中,接近一个潜在的同伴带来的是尴尬和受辱的风险。数字配对极大地降低了这方面的成本。例如,像Tinder和Happen这样的app揭示,用户只在有共同感受的情况下才喜欢另一个用户。
 
The best matching markets are those that are “thick”, with lots of participants. The more people there are seeking digital dates, the greater the chance of finding a good match. Odds improve that another person in the crowd also enjoys Wagner, Thai food, or discussions about the economics of matching markets.
 
最好的配对市场是“厚”市场,即有着大量参与者的市场。寻求数字配对的人越多,找到一个好伴侣的机会就越大。这种概率会在人海中的另一个人也喜欢瓦格纳、泰国食物或是关于配对市场的经济学讨论时大幅提升。
The wealth of information many dating sites request may help to home in on the perfect match, but if the effort involved is enough to deter potential mates from joining in the first place, then it does more harm than good. When Tinder first launched, largely to facilitate casual sex, users assessed one another based only on looks, age and gender. Simplicity worked wonders; there are 26m matches made between Tinder users each day.
 
许多约会网站所要求的财富信息可能有助于促成完美的配对。但是,倘若所涉及的尝试多到足以从一开始就把潜在的约会对象吓跑了的话,这种设计就是弊大于利了。Tinder最初上线时,主要是为了方便随意的性行为,用户之间的评估只是基于外貌、年龄和性别。简单带来了奇迹; Tinder用户每天所达成的配对有2600万之多。
The advantages of thick markets are lost, however, if they become too “congested”, with users overwhelmed by the number of participants and unable to locate a good match among them. One response is to specialize. J Swipe, for instance, caters to Jewish singles while Bumble, an app where women must initiate contact, is meant to attract feminists.
 
然而,如果变得过于“拥挤”,厚市场的优势就会消失,用户会被参与者的数量吓跑,并且无法在参与者当中定位到一个好的伙伴。一种应对之策就是专业化。例如, J Swipe就是专门为单身犹太人量身定制的,而女性必须主动发起联系的Bumble则是一个意在吸引女权人士的app。
But the most popular apps seek to help their users filter possible mates using clever technology. Tinder, for example, only provides users with profiles of fellow Tinderites who are nearby, to make it that much easier to meet in person. It has also introduced a “super like” feature, which can be deployed only once a day, to allow smitten users to signal heightened interest in someone. In addition, last year it started allowing people to list their jobs and education, to help users to sort through the crowds. Users get the benefits both of a big pool of potential partners and various tools to winnow them.
但是,大多数受欢迎的app都在设法运用聪明的技术帮助用户去筛选潜在的伙伴。例如,Tinder只提供给用户邻近用户的简历,以便让见面变得更容易。它还引入了一个一天只能使用一次的“真爱”选项,以允许被倾倒的用户表达对某人的特别兴趣。除此之外,它还从去年开始允许人们贴出自己的工作和学历,以帮助用户在茫茫人海中搜寻。用户的收获是一大群潜在的伙伴和各种各样把他们筛选出来的工具的双重好处。
 
Sex and the city
欲望都市

The emergence of matching apps, for those seeking love or theater tickets or a lift, has certainly made once-onerous tasks more convenient. They may also contribute to more profound economic change. Dating apps could strengthen the trend toward “assortative mating”, whereby people choose to couple with those of similar income and skills. By one estimate, the trend accounts for about 18% of the rise in income inequality in America between 1960 and 2005. A recent study of online dating in South Korea found that it boosted sorting among couples by education.
针对寻找真爱、搜寻门票或者是设法拼车之人的配对app的出现,的确让曾经耗时费力的任务变得方便了。它们或许还会促成更为深远的经济变革。婚配app可能强化了婚姻向“选择性婚配”发展的趋势,让人们借以选择与有着相同收入和技能的人结婚成家。据估算,这种趋势在美国的不平等于1960年至2005年间的上升中的占比约为18%。对南韩网上约会的一项最新研究发现,它刺激了根据学历寻找另一半的行为。
 
Better matching may also mean bigger cities. Metropolitan Goliaths have long been melting-pots, within which those early on in their adult lives link up with jobs, friends and mates. Matching apps, romantic or not, make it easier to navigate the urban sprawl and sample all it has to offer. That, in turn, should make the biggest cities relatively more attractive to young people.
更好的配对也许还意味着更大的城市。长期以来,大都市就是一个大熔炉,生活在其中的刚踏入成年人生活的人都是通过工作、朋友和伴侣联系在一起的。配对app,不管浪漫与否,都能让人们更容易地穿行于城市的各个角落之间,并且能更容易地从其必然会提供的各种机会中找到自己想要的。这相应地也应当让大城市变得对年轻人更具吸引力。
 
Apps cannot yet make break-ups less painful. And love remains mysterious enough that even the most refined algorithms cannot predict mutual attraction with confidence. But they clearly help, judging by their legions of users. After all, it is better to have super-liked and lost than never to have super-liked at all.
然而,app不可能减少分手的痛苦;而且爱情的神秘依旧足以让纵然是经过千百次修改的算法也不可能以信心十足地预测共同的吸引。但是,从这些app的用户大军来判断,它们肯定是起作用的。毕竟,有真爱并且迷失于真爱,怎么说都好于压根没有真爱。



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