Startup Stash - A Phone Nose, Date Law, Job Falls 🐽

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Government Mandated Dating

Get ready for some government-approved matchmaking magic! 

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is diving into the dating scene with their very own app. Despite a history of fizzling government tech projects, Tokyo's officials are on a mission to boost the nation's birthrate. The latest figures revealed just 727k births in 2023—a whopping 5.6% drop. Marriages took a similar hit, falling by 6%.

But a government app automatically implies bureaucratic hurdles, doesn’t it? 

In classic government style, signing up for this app is not a breeze. Prospective lovebirds must jump through hoops: proving they're single, showing tax certificates to confirm income, disclosing 15 pieces of personal info (including height and job), and sitting through an identity-verifying interview. Plus, casual daters need not apply; users must pledge they're in it for the long haul, seeking a marriage partner, as reported by The Asahi Shimbun.

Why are they doing this? 

Japan’s local governments are getting serious about what national leaders deem a “critical situation.” Economic struggles among child-rearing couples are a major culprit, prompting the government to pump trillions of yen into financial support, childcare services, and parental leave.

The new app aims to connect the 70% of people who want to tie the knot but aren’t actively searching for a partner. So, if you're serious about finding 'the one' and willing to navigate the bureaucratic maze, Tokyo's got an app for you!



Ups and Downs of Job Search

Your options for a job switch might be fewer than you think — because the hiring scene is drying up again. National job openings data fell more than expected in April, hitting the lowest point in over three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The latest figures, released last week, show there were 8.06 million available positions in the US for April, about 300,000 less than the previous month. This means there are now 1.24 job openings for every unemployed person, the smallest ratio since June 2021, down from a peak of 2:1 in 2022.

With hiring rates slowing and quitting rates leveling off, the data suggests that the labor supply and demand is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Consequently, bonds started surging in anticipation of last Friday’s employment report, which was expected to show that the US added 185,000 jobs in May.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Graphics: Chartr


A Phone Nose

What if your smartphone could smell you and maybe give you suggestions on your body odor or choice in perfume? It sounds like sci-fi, but this tech is closer than you think.

They’re calling it the “SmellGPT”

You already know that your phone can see and hear the world around you, listen to your conversations, and personalise your social feed accordingly. 

But creating a “SmellGPT” is still quite the challenge. The main issue? There’s no comprehensive database of scents for AI to learn from. Unlike text or image data used by ChatGPT or MidJourney, an "internet of odors" simply doesn’t exist.

To address this, the DREAM Olfaction Prediction Challenge was launched in 2015. Researchers shared existing odor data and invited teams worldwide to develop machine learning models. These models had to predict smell labels like “sweet,” “flower,” or “fruit” from molecular structures.

By 2019, olfactory datasets grew significantly—from less than 500 to about 5,000 molecules. Google also got involved, using deep learning to advance machine olfaction.

With these strides, the future of scent tech is promising. We might soon see personalized perfumes, better insect repellents, and scent-based disease detectors.



Shorts ⏳

🥂 Worth Per Capita - Last week Nvidia crossed the $3 trillion market cap mark. With 29,600 total employees, that's worth $102 million for every employee.

✈️ Low-cost Hi-end Flying - Flights are getting cheaper. Legacy names like Delta airlines and American Airlines are slashing prices to compete with budget airlines. 

🏆 No Age Too Old - At 98, legendary actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke makes history as the oldest winner ever at the Daytime Emmys

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 News From The South - Last year, the Texas was the second fastest growing economy in the nation, with its GDP surging 5.7%. It also welcomed nearly half a million new residents and now boasts 52 Fortune 500 companies, tied with New York. 

🤦‍♀️ AI Can Change Your Nationality - A Ukrainian YouTuber has found that an AI-generated duplicate of her has become mini-famous on Chinese social media, while promoting Russia. 

Are They Living Under a Rock? - A recent survey by the Reuters Institute shows that a sizable minority of the respondents – between 19% in Japan and 30% in the UK – have not heard about any of the most popular AI tools (including ChatGPT).



Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
Coggle: A project management tool that allows you to share mindmaps or flowcharts easily and invite others to work on them with you.

Embold: An SAST tool that supports developers in analyzing issues of critical code before they have become roadblocks. 

Termsfeed: A tool to create custom agreements that can be legally binding for your users: Privacy Policies, T&C, Terms of Service, or Return Policies. 
 
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