To boost birth rate, Japan's government considers AI to match spouses

Japan's Cabinet Office is asking for budget approval for a new dating service driven by artificial intelligence.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

In Japan, not only can you have artificial intelligence pick your mate, but you can also have two giant Pikachu mascots standing by as you say I do.

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Finding the perfect mate can feel impossible, especially when in-person interactions have come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 lockdowns. But if you live in Japan, the government there wants to help you find eternal love -- or at least your future spouse -- using artificial intelligence

In an effort to boost Japan's declining birth rate, the government has been trying to help single heterosexual men and women find true love so they get married and start families. The number of annual marriages in Japan has fallen from 800,000 in 2000 to 600,000 in 2019.

According to Sora News 24, roughly 25 of Japan's 47 prefectures currently have some sort of government-run matchmaking service for singles where the users plug in their preferences for a potential mate -- including age, income and educational level. The dating services then provide a list of other users who meet their criteria. 

However, Japan's Cabinet Office thinks the current dating services aren't advanced enough to help singles make lasting romantic connections. That's where artificial intelligence could come to the rescue.

The new AI dating systems would work by having users answer more specific questions catered to their personal values on a variety of topics. 

The users would also have to share more information about their own hobbies and interests, like Pokemon in case they want to have a Pikachu-themed wedding.

Using this more personality-driven service (rather than just using age, income and education level as the main criteria), there's a higher probability the match could lead to marriage, the thinking goes. 

The government would pay for two-thirds of the costs of introducing and operating the new and improved AI dating systems. 

Currently, Japan's Cabinet Office is asking for budget approval of two billion yen (about $19.05 million) for the new AI-enabled dating service, which would then launch at the start of spring.

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