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Japan to Use Artificial Intelligence Matchmaking to Boost Plummeting Birth Rate

Japanese authorities are hoping that they can use artificial intelligence algorithms to help boost the country’s infamously low birth rate.

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Japanese authorities are hoping that they can use artificial intelligence algorithms to help the nation’s legion of singles finally find love – and most crucially, boost the country’s infamously low birth rate.

The move to resort to AI tech to play matchmaker for millions of bachelors and bachelorettes may not sound romantic, but one cabinet official expressed confidence in its ability to accurately match a wide range of potential suitors, reports Yomiuri Shimbun.  

“We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI,” an official in the cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told AFP.

While singles often have certain preferred characteristics in mind when thinking of their possible soul mate, the machine learning technology would ignore the stated preferences of users in terms of income level, looks and age, and use an emotional quotient to match couples based on shared values, hobbies, personalities and emotional intelligence.

The Japanese government plans to allocate two billion yen (USD $19 million) in the coming fiscal year toward various schemes that will help residents find love, the official added.

The question isn’t so much a matter of love and roses, but of the nation’s very survival.

“We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation’s birthrate,” the cabinet official added.

Japan has one of the largest populations over the age of 65 out of any country, comprising about 26 percent of the total population, per 2015 census data. Japan has both the world’s highest life expectancy and the lowest birthrate, with only 865,000 babies being born last year – a record low since records began in 1899.

However, the plummeting birth rate also means the erosion of Japan’s work-force. Successive governments have sought to grapple with these labor shortages and the increased public spending on the senior citizen population by raising the retirement age from 60 to anywhere between 65 and 71.

Numerous studies have also shown that young Japanese men and women are increasingly disinterested in matters of the heart, and are generally dating and having sex far less than in the past. Instead, women are increasingly committed to pursuing a career path and being independent, while men are also focusing on school, work, or pursuing their own interests.

The shrinking population is also a result of young people showing little interest in romantic relationships while they are earning low wages, according to Dr. Sachiko Horiguchi, an anthropologist at Japan’s Temple University.

In the absence of real changes to the material reality confronting young single people in Japan, she doesn’t see the matchmaking service working as effectively as authorities hope.

“If they’re not interested in dating, the matchmaking would likely be ineffective,” Horiguchi said.

“If we are to rely on technologies, affordable AI robots taking over household or childcare tasks may be more effective.”

Working mothers reportedly enjoy little support in Japan, where they are expected to fulfill their traditional roles of doing all housework while also raising their children.

However, even young people who have completed higher education and have high salaries are averse to new financial burdens and emotional crises, which also factors into downward trends in marriage and birth rates.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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