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article imageAstrophysisist Rashied Amini can help people find love Special

By Adrian Peel     Feb 8, 2016 in Science
The former NASA employee has lent his expertise to Nanaya, an app that can determine whether or not a person will find true love based on science and probability. Digital Journal found out more.
Rashied Amini previously worked as a systems engineer at NASA J.P.L. located in Pasadena, California before leaving to study for his PhD in astrophysics at his Alma Mater, Washington University in St. Louis. In 2015, he used his vast knowledge of algorithms in the creation of a brand new app related to love and romance.
"Right now, we are launching the Beta version of Nanaya," explains the experienced academic, who also has a keen interest in psychology, "and that does many different things. People will come in and we'll ask them about 10 to 15 minutes of questions that cover personality, what they want in life, how they interact with people...
"We don't matchmake people. We give them a six-page report of what their romantic future and social future looks like, so part of that is 'What are your odds of finding love?' Using the algorithm, we can predict when people should try settling down, based on their values of being single and their romantic opportunities.
"You get your odds of finding love, but what can you personally do to improve the odds, based on your lifestyle, your personality and your values? That's pretty much it in a nutshell for the Beta, but in the long run we'd love to roll out the full algorithm which can even help people decide whether it's better to stay in a specific relationship or to play the field."
"It's quite personal," admits Rashied, when asked how the idea first came to him. "A couple of years ago, I had a girlfriend who after two years wanted to break up, but she was very conflicted not really knowing the reasons why.
"She said she wished she could do a cost benefit analysis of the relationship and I said that was one of the silliest things I'd ever heard. But I had done plenty of work like that for NASA - for instance, what are the different things you can do in emissions to make sure it succeeds when you go to Jupiter? - and the mood in me was that it would be a fun problem to solve."
Rashied may no longer work for NASA, but plans to return soon and still considers himself "part of the family." His background certainly helped when it came to devising the algorithms for Nanaya, though he is quick to point out that the whole thing has been a team effort.
"I started as a sceptic," he reveals, "and it was one of these things where I realised it was actually working. But it's the sort of thing, too, where with every person who tries it, we're learning something new and the algorithm will constantly be adapted."
Despite all the hard work that's gone into the project, the skilled theorist concedes that technology can never truly outwit the complexities of the human heart. "I really don't feel that love and romance can be put to numbers," he says.
"What we do in the algorithm works differently than love and romance, and to say it'll work 100% of the time for everyone I don't think that's necessarily true... But moreover, just like any sort of data, it can be interpreted subjectively.
"We try to interpret it for people and people can look at the numbers for themselves, but the issue is what do you actually take home from the numbers? The individual still has to take the initiative. We spend all day making these theories describing reality, but these simulations aren't reality, especially when it comes to human affairs."
For more information on Nanaya, visit the app's official website.
More about rashied amini, nanaya, NASA, Astrophysics, cost benefit analysis
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