January 31 – Due to Japan’s long-term low birth rate, the Japanese government has promised to invest funds in artificial intelligence (AI) functions to help single people find their soul mates.
According to Kyodo News, officials of Japan’s cabinet government said that the government had obtained 2 billion yen ($20m) in the next fiscal year to establish a system that can better analyze and put a large amount of data on single people into use.
AI assistive systems have been widely used by dating services in the private sector and have been introduced by some prefecture governments in Japan to assess the preferences of blind dates in more detail.
The technology takes more depth into the data, and does not only refer to factors such as age, height and income when matching people.
Officials say artificial intelligence has been shown to be effective in helping people find objects beyond the criteria for choosing a spouse.
The central government of Japan has allocated half of the funds needed to the municipal authorities to introduce and manage the AI system; if multiple local service agencies aggregate users and data to improve the hit rate of matches, the Japanese government will bear two-thirds of the cost of the system.
According to the report, artificial intelligence systems have been put into use in 19 of Japan’s 47 counties and have proved effective.
Saitama Prefecture (Saitama) near Tokyo has been providing AI-based matchmaking services since October 2018.
As of December 16, 2020, 33 of the 71 couples who used the AI service and eventually paired said they were thanks to AI.
The head of the project in Saitama Prefecture said that artificial intelligence will recommend people who may not look suitable for themselves, so it can increase people’s choice range.
Japan has always had one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with an average of 1.36 children per family, which may have a serious impact on the country in the next few years, especially in solving the labor shortage problem.
According to a recent statistics released by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the number of babies born in 2019 was 865,234, the lowest since the beginning of the statistics.
According to Kyodo News Agency’s late 2020 report, Japan’s number of babies born in 2019 was 53,166 fewer than the year before last, and for the first time that it was less than 900,000, while Japan’s death toll was 1381,098, the highest since World War II.
The number of births minus the death toll resulted in a population increase of 515,864, the highest in history.