Technology is used to aid with elderly care. SHI YU/CHINA DAILY
Starting next year, many Japanese singles might have a higher possibility of finding their dream partner – through government-aided AI matchmaking services.
On Dec 7, a cabinet official told AFP that the government will subsidize local authorities 2 billion yen (about 126 million yuan) to boost the birth rate. Part of the fund will be used to support projects that use AI to pair people up. Although there are some existing matchmaking systems, which consider criteria such as income and age, the more advanced AI system will also take into account factors like hobbies and values.
Japan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. The number of babies born in Japan in 2019 fell below 865,000 – the lowest record since 1899, according to the BBC. As a major reason for the aging population, the fast-graying nation has long been searching for ways to improve the situation. Boosting the use of AI tech is one of its latest efforts.
日本是全球生育率最低的国家之一。据英国广播公司报道，2019年日本新生儿数量下降至86.5万以下 —— 这是自1899年来的最低记录。日本老龄化速度很快，这也成为了人口老龄化的主要原因，日本也一直寻找办法改善现状。推动人工智能技术的应用就是日本最近做出的一大努力。
An aging population is not just a problem in Japan. Globally, mankind is growing in number and age. According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. While by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65.
In China, the problem is even greater. By the end of 2019, the number of people aged 60 or above in China was 254 million, or 18.1 percent of the total population. By 2050, the number is expected to increase to 500 million, making China one of the world’s most aged societies. Roughly two working adults will need to support one senior citizen.
In addition to the smaller portion of the young labor force, an aging society also puts more pressure on the healthcare and pension systems.
China has taken measures to deal with the aging population.
China loosened its family planning policy in 2015 to allow all couples to have two children. The government has also been improving the elderly care sector. By June 2020, China had 220,000 nursing institutions, with over 7.9 million beds, among which 50 percent are private, according to China Daily.
In the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), there is also a focus on care for the elderly population. The government will develop a social environment where the rights and interests of the elderly are better protected, said Yuan Xina, a professor at Nankai University.