"We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation's birthrate."
Japanese officials are taking an unconventional approach to boosting the country's declining birthrate: Helping the lonely populace find love, using AI.
Yoshihide Suga, the new Prime Minister of Japan who was elected in September, will invest $19 million in local governments that develop artificial intelligence algorithms to serve as matchmaker for lonely singles in their region, according to Agence France-Presse. It sounds, well, unusual — but officials hope the AI is savvy enough to revitalize the entire country's population.
Using AI in a dating service is nothing new — any dating app will rely on some sort of algorithm to determine whose accounts it places in front of whom. What stands out, however, is that this is a government project rather than a dating company like Tinder or OkCupid that's setting people up.
However, almost half of Japan's prefectures already offer some sort of matchmaking service for locals, AFP reports — the government is now merely looking to give them a high-tech boost.
Japan has one of the lowest birthrates in the world at just 1.36 expected children per family, AFP reports. That could have serious impacts on the nation years from now, especially it's already struggling to handle a shortage of workers.
"We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI," an official from the Prime Minister's cabinet told AFP. "We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation's birthrate."
READ MORE: Japan boosts AI funding to match lonely hearts [Agence France-Presse]
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