An app that predicts your romantic outlook

Perhaps love cannot be reduced to science, but one NASA engineer is hoping he can simplify the process of looking for romance. In a Google Hangout interview, reporter Andrea Vasquez and Rashied Amini discuss Nanaya, a tool designed to predict a person’s romantic outlook 7 years into the future.

TRANSCRIPT

PERHAPS LOVE CANNOT BE EASILY REDUCED TO SCIENCE, BUT ONE NASA ENGINEER IS HOPING HE CAN SIMPLIFY THE PROCESS OF LOOKING FOR ROMANCE.

HIS NAME IS RASHIED AMINI, AND HE IS HERE TO DISCUSS NANAYA, HIS ROMANTIC-OUTLOOK TOOL DESIGNED TO PREDICT A PERSON'S ROMANTIC OUTLOOK SEVEN YEARS INTO THE FUTURE.

REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ HAS THE INTERVIEW VIA GOOGLE HANGOUT.

RASHIED AMINI, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

YOU'RE A SCIENTIST.

YOU WORK WITH NASA.

HOW DID YOU START WORKING ON THIS PROJECT, ON NANAYA?

AND TELL ME WHAT IT IS.

WELL, IT ALL STARTED A LITTLE BIT AGO, BUT NANAYA IS A ROMANCE-DECISION ALGORITHM THAT WILL HELP PEOPLE FIND OUT WHAT THEIR FUTURE WILL LOOK LIKE -- RATHER IT'S, YOU KNOW, WHO TO SETTLE DOWN WITH, WHEN TO SETTLE DOWN, WHERE THEY'LL FIND LOVE.

WOW.

AND IT STARTED ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, WHEN MY THEN-GIRLFRIEND WAS WONDERING WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD STAY TOGETHER, AND SHE WANTED TO DO A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF OUR RELATIONSHIP.

AND I FELT, 'OKAY.

THAT'S ONE OF THE SILLIEST THINGS I'VE HEARD, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?

THIS IS THE SORT OF THING I DO FOR WORK, SO WHY NOT?

I'LL TRY TO SEE IF I CAN DO IT, IF ONLY TO SHOW THAT IT DOESN'T WORK.'

AND, AS IT TURNED OUT, IT DID.

REALLY? USING WHAT FACTORS?

IT USES QUITE A FEW.

SO, IT'S, YOU KNOW -- I TOOK WHAT WE USED TO DO OR WHAT I DO IN NASA FOR PLANNING SPACE MISSIONS, WHERE THERE'S ALL THESE DIFFERENT FACTORS, AND IN EACH ONE, THERE CAN BE, LIKE, MANY DIFFERENT OUTCOMES.

SO, SAY, FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU WANT TO BUILD A SPACE MISSION THAT WILL LAND ON MARS, THERE'S A COUPLE WAYS OF DOING THAT, BUT SOME WAYS WILL GIVE YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF MISSION SUCCESS.

SO MUCH IN THE SAME WAY, A PERSON INTERACTS WITH ALL THESE DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE, SO THE PEOPLE AT WORK, THE PEOPLE THEY MEET IN COLLEGE, THEIR FRIEND NETWORK, AND IN EACH ONE, THERE'S ALL THESE DIFFERENT PROBABILITIES OF, YOU KNOW, HOW THEY'LL -- YOU KNOW, OF FINDING LOVE, AND THEN, ALSO, DIFFERENT WAYS THEY INTERACT WITH ALL THESE GROUPS.

SO, FOR INSTANCE, YOU MAY GO OUT WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS SO OFTEN AND YOU GO OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS SO OFTEN.

AND IF YOU FACTOR ALL THESE THINGS TOGETHER, EVENTUALLY IT'LL ACTUALLY GET AN ANSWER.

SO, IS THIS A SERVICE OR AN ALGORITHM?

IT WILL BE A SERVICE SOON, BUT WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE ALGORITHM FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF, TESTING WITH WITH PEOPLE, ACTUALLY, OFF OF CRAIGSLIST.

IT FIRST STARTED WITH FRIENDS, AND THEN WHEN IT SEEMED LIKE IT WAS WORKING, I STARTED TESTING IT WITH PERFECT STRANGERS TO SEE IF I COULD PROVE WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE THEM HAPPY IN THE PAST.

IF I CAN DO THAT, THEN I KNOW IT WORKS.

OKAY.

SO, YOU'RE TESTING IT BY PUTTING IN RETROACTIVE...

EXACTLY.

...INFORMATION AND SEEING IF IT CAME TRUE.

SO, WHAT LEVEL OF ACCURACY ARE YOU GETTING?

WELL, IT'S HARD TO GAUGE ACCURACY BECAUSE IT'S SOMETHING WE'RE CONSTANTLY LEARNING, SO, FOR INSTANCE, IF IT DOESN'T WORK A LITTLE BIT, I'LL GO BACK.

I'LL RETOOL THE ALGORITHM TO SEE, 'MAYBE WE MISSED SOMETHING.'

SO, THE MAIN KEY FEATURE THAT WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO HAVE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD STAY WITH YOUR CURRENT PARTNER.

THAT'S A LITTLE SPOOKY, AND I DON'T WANT TO PUT THAT OUT UNTIL WE KNOW THAT IT REALLY WORKS.

SO, WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS CONTINUE TO TEST THAT PORTION, BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, WE DO WANT TO OFFER THE OTHER CAPABILITIES THAT IT HAS.

SO, THE ONE THAT I'M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IS WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF FINDING LOVE?

AND THAT ONE IS SOMETHING THAT, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A PRETTY GOOD FIX ON, AND THAT'S HOW YOU INTERACT WITH DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE AND WHAT FREQUENCY AND WHAT ARE THE PROBABILITIES.

AND HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE HUMAN ELEMENT OF PERSONALITY AND DYNAMIC AND COMPATIBILITY?

SO, IF I CAN BREAK DOWN THE ALGORITHM IN A COUPLE DIFFERENT PARTS, THERE IS ONE THAT DOES ALL THE SOCIAL MODEL, AND THAT'S BASED ON PERSONALITY TESTS THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY OFFERING ON OUR SITE, nanaya.co, BUT WE HAVE THE SERVICE THAT FINDS OUT WHEN YOU'LL FIND LOVE.

YOU DO A PERSONALITY TEST, BUT WE HAVE TO ASK SEVERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, HOW DO YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS.

HOW DO YOU INTERACT WITH THE PEOPLE THAT ARE YOUR FRIENDS IN YOUR CITY OR PEOPLE, LIKE, IN YOUR EXTENDED NETWORK?

AND ALL THESE QUESTIONS ARE PERSONALIZED.

SO, AS YOU ANSWER ONE QUESTION, IT LEADS TO ANOTHER, AND IT'S ALL ADAPTIVE.

NOW, IF YOU'RE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS, WE CAN GET A REALLY GOOD IDEA OF HOW A PERSON INTERACTS AND HOW THEY'LL BE INTERACTING IN THE FUTURE, AS WELL.

AND SO HOW SERIOUSLY SHOULD PEOPLE TAKE ADVICE FROM NANAYA IF IT SAYS YOUR RELATIONSHIP'S NOT GONNA LAST?

WELL, THE WAY I THINK ABOUT IT IS YOU HAVE A COIN.

YOU CAN FLIP IT AND GET HEADS OR TAILS 50% OF THE TIME.

WELL, 50% DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING FOR ONE, YOU KNOW, COIN FLIP.

IN A SENSE, WHEN WE LIVE OUR LIVES, WE REALLY ONLY HAVE ONE COIN FLIP.

SO, PROBABILITY DOESN'T ALWAYS DO THE BEST JOB OF DESCRIBING HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE.

AND I THINK, AT THE END OF THE DAY, PEOPLE MAY KNOW IN THEIR HEARTS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

SO, I ACTUALLY VIEW THE RESULT NOT BEING THE MOST IMPORTANT THING BUT RATHER THE VERY PROCESS OF GOING THROUGH ALL THESE QUESTIONS WILL HOPEFULLY HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHAT THEY REALLY WANT.

AND I THINK THAT'S THE SORT OF THING THAT'S MOST IMPORTANT AT THE END OF THE DAY, NOT JUST THE NUMBER AT THE END OF THE REPORT.

OKAY.

SO, THE ALGORITHM'S FACILITATING SOME INTROSPECTION ALONG THE WAY?

AND I THINK THAT'S MY MAIN OBJECTIVE IN DEVELOPING THIS.

GREAT.

WELL, WE'LL SEE HOW THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS GO.

[ LAUGHS ] THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

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