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Facing Depopulation Threat, Japan Will Use AI Technology to Pair Singles Based on 'Emotional Quotient'

News18 logo News18 09-12-2020 News18
a man standing next to a fence: Facing Depopulation Threat, Japan Will Use AI Technology to Pair Singles Based on 'Emotional Quotient' © Provided by News18 Facing Depopulation Threat, Japan Will Use AI Technology to Pair Singles Based on 'Emotional Quotient'

As Japan faces the looming threat of depopulation, the country might be taking help of technology to save its people. In order to boost its dipping birth rate, the country will be funding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help match single people, according to an official.

A report by DailyMail says although the scheme might not evoke thoughts of romance, the AI technology can match a wider and smarter range of potential suitors, the cabinet official said. What is different about this method is that the technology will effectively ignore the stated preferences of users in terms of age, income level and looks, and instead emphasise on 'emotional quotient' to match potential suitors with similar values, personalities and emotional intelligence.

The project comes after Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government plans to allocate two billion yen ($19 million) in the next financial year to support local authorities that run schemes to help their residents find love. According to DailyMail, around half of Japan’s 47 prefectures offer matchmaking services and some of them have already included AI systems, as informed by the cabinet office.

Saitama prefecture, which is just north of Tokyo, has spent 15 million yen ($144,000) in the fiscal year to March 2019 and saw some 21 couples getting married. Japanese government data shows the number of marriages fell by 2,00,000 in Japan from 2000 to 2019. The traditional human-run matchmaking services often use conventional forms to list people's interests and hobbies, but with the help of AI systems, more advanced analysis of this data can be carried out.

DailyMail quoted an official who said that the government is especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI. The government hopes this support will help reverse the decline in the nation's birth-rate, which has in turn dwindled its population. Japan's fertility rate, which is the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, was 1.36 last year – which is one of the world's lowest and far below the rate needed to maintain a country’s population.

Its rapidly ageing population is also a result of long life expectancy that poses a major hurdle for Japanese policymakers trying to ensure a shrinking workforce can pay for the ballooning cost of welfare. A 2017 report by Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research had indicated the population of Japan is expected to plunge to 88.08 million in 2065, marking a roughly 30 percent fall from the 2015 level.

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