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The Covid-19 pandemic is weighing on singles looking for love. A burden that worries Japanese companies for which a fulfilling private life of employees is generally synonymous with a job well done. At the beginning of January, 796 of them, including the telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo, the Mizuho bank, the airline All Nippon Airways or the daily Mainichi Shinbun, gave in to the advances of Aill goen, a new kind of dating app. Functioning on the analysis of the tastes of the users and the optimization of their choices to avoid the errors, this one connects only the employees of these companies.
In Japan, getting married is a sign of recognition. “Not being married remains a failure,” explains sociologist Muriel Jolivet.
By December, 76% of users had been able to arrange dates, according to a survey by Aill, the Tokyo-based startup behind the app. “I wanted to create a platform that would make it easier for employees to achieve work-life balance, which at the same time would drive business growth,” explains China Toyoshima to the Kyodo agency. The leader of Aill had the idea for the application in 2018. At the time an executive of a company in the pharmacy sector, the 30-year-old was approached for a promotion and worried about her personal life.
Artificial intelligence at the service of singles
In Japan, the majority of women in positions of responsibility are single and have little opportunity to seek a partner. “Companies want their employees to show initiative. Employees are tired due to the work overload and do not have time to take care of their personal life,” she adds. With Covid-19, the situation has not improved, and “Employers are concerned about the mental health of their employees, who are most often confined to their homes without any physical interaction”.
Aill goen works with artificial intelligence (AI). Features include a table detailing the compatibility of future couples and a bar displaying the level of appreciation of a potential partner calculated according to the evolution of conversations. Behaving like a trusted friend, the application does not hesitate to intervene in text message exchanges to suggest that one of the members request a meeting. It also offers questions to ask to facilitate conversations and ideas when discussions get bogged down.
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