Wants to help people find spouses who don’t meet their preferences for age, income, or education.

For decades, the Japanese government has been trying to find a way to boost the country’s continually declining birth rate. Their newest plan: get help from the machines. Don’t worry, though, Japan isn’t planning to create a fleet of baby-making bots. Instead, the Cabinet Office wants to raise the birth rate through indirect means by increasing the number of new marriages, and it plans to do that using artificial intelligence programs.

According to the architects of the initiative, roughly 25 of Japan’s 47 prefectures currently have some sort of government-run matchmaking service for singles. Users provide their preferences in terms of age, income, and educational level, and the services then provide a list of other users who meet their criteria. However, the Cabinet Office thinks such systems aren’t advanced enough to fully aid in directing singles towards romantic connections, and wants government-supported matchmaking services to utilize AI systems to help people find someone they’d be compatible with in terms of personality even if they’re outside each other’s preferred range for age, earnings, or education.

▼ If age ain’t nothing but a number, maybe salary and years of post-high school education are too?

The AI systems would work by having users answer questions about topics such as their hobbies and personal values, which would then be factored into finding matches with a higher probability of leading to marriage. Currently about a dozen prefectures have government-run AI matchmaking systems, and under the plan the central government would pay for two-thirds of the costs of introducing and operating them.

Planned out-of-wedlock births are almost nonexistent in Japan, so there’s a certain logic to including raising the number of weddings in the overall plan to raise the number of babies, especially with the number of annual marriages in the country falling from 800,000 in 2000 to 600,000 in 2019. However, a big question is going to be whether or not the plan makes economic sense. For example, in 2018 Saitama’s matchmaking service introduced AI similar to what the Cabinet Office is calling for at a cost of approximately 15 million yen (US$142,860) to the prefecture. In 2019, though, only 21 couples that tied the knot met through the AI system (though that’s still more than half of the 38 total marriages in 2019 resulting from Saitama’s government matchmaking efforts).

The Cabinet Office is seeking a budget approval of two billion yen (US$19.05 million) for the initiative, which it hopes to launch at the start of the fiscal year in spring.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
Insert image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!