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In that special issue, for instance, Jarrett (2008) questions the forms of agency embedded in participation where commercial interests are concerned and Zimmer (2008b) points to the privacy concerns associated with combining Web 2.0 and search engines as they attempt to build profiles and predict our intentions.
Since the emergence of Web 2.0, we have witnessed a non-human turn in studies of the Internet where the materiality of algorithms, code, interfaces, devices and platforms have been seen to come into play.
Building upon ideas from speculative design and speculative method, I introduce the idea of speculative devices, those things that are set in place based on a conjecture of an outcome.
Drawing upon a case study of Ashley Madison, generated using a walkthrough method and analysis of media coverage, I demonstrate how the speculative devices of bots and profiles can operate, and why.
I also discuss how non-humans have always been implicated in dating and hooking up and that although dating apps have risen to prominence since the announcement of Web 2.0, the role of the Internet in this aspect of life has a much longer history.