Sunday, 7 Mar 2021

Japan invests £14m in AI matchmakers in bid to get country making more babies

Japan is investing £14million in artificial intelligence (AI) for matchmaking services to try to boost the country's plummeting birth rate.

Officials hope AI will be better at linking up singletons than dating programmes run by humans.

The government reportedly plans to invest £14million – $19 million – in the next fiscal year helping lonely hearts hook up using AI.

A cabinet official said the cash will go to local authorities – the country’s prefectures – which run matchmaking programmes.

The official told the Japan Times : “We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI.

“We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation’s birth rate.”

Half of the country’s 47 prefectures already offer services which match potential partners.

Some have already started to use AI systems as a way of improving it.

AI is said to be able to perform much more advanced analysis of data usually found on dating apps, such as interests and hobbies.

Human-run dating services already use standardised forms to list such information.

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The Asian nation is desperately trying to reverse its falling birth rate.

Figures show the fertility rate, the average umber of children a woman is expected to have during her lifetime, was 1.36 last year – one of the world’s lowest.

It is also far below the rate which is needed to sustain a population, especially as Japan has a rapidly ageing population.

Japanese officials have to figure out how its shrinking workforce can cover the increasing cost of welfare needed to sustain its retired citizens.

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It comes after a technology expert predicted humans will be wearing AI headsets that tell us what to do – including by offering dating tips.

David Wood, chair of the London Futurists, said by 2030 we will all be wearing the devices, which will combine AI with augmented reality.

He told the Daily Star: “They'll be listening to us and offering us what we need, like a good friend offering advice.

“If we're in a museum they'll explain things to us, they'll discourage us from buying things we don't need, give us dating tips.”

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