Artificial intelligence can now take a guess at whether you and your partner can go the distance.
An AI firm called DataRobot has built a tool based on Stanford University data that asks you six questions about your relationship, and predicts your chances of staying together for the next couple of years.
I decided to give it a shot.
First, a bit more about how DataRobot’s Labs arm built the tool.
The quiz is based on a 2009 Stanford study of around 4,000 Americans called “How Couples Meet and Stay Together.” Stanford did follow-up surveys to see how many couples were still together after a few years, and made all the data publicly available.
DataRobot’s main business involves predictive modelling, which uses data to predict outcomes. The company’s Labs arm took Stanford’s data to build a model that could predict relationship outcomes.
How did the company decide on just six questions?
Greg Michaelson, DataRobot Labs’ director, told Business Insider it found 150 variables in the data that indicated whether a couple was more likely to stay together. But the company picked six that felt non-intrusive, and that people would feel comfortable answering. For example, the quiz doesn’t ask you if you’re living with your other half, even though that’s a factor in how likely you are to stay together.
“That’s kind of got the icky feel to it,” said Michaelson. “We wanted to stay away from anything too personal and sensitive.”
I decided to try DataRobot’s tool. Obviously, I back my relationship, and wanted to see if DataRobot’s model would do the same.
I did get the permission of my other half, though only one of you needs to take the quiz. His view: “This is basically everything that’s wrong with machine learning! But sure, why not!”
What could go wrong?
The first question asks if you’re married.
I’m not married to my boyfriend, and apparently that’s not good. It’s probably a bit much to expect after a year together though. And apparently it’s better than being divorced.
Then you state your education level.
Higher education is pretty common in the UK, so this isn’t much of a surprise. But as per DataRobot’s note, this is better news for my relationship than the marriage question.
And then how old you are.
Does four years count as a big age gap? I don’t know, but it looks like our chances might be better than Donald and Melania Trump’s.
Being together for a long time helps.
DataRobot Labs’ Michaelsen has been with his wife for 19 years, so I’m barely in the race here.
Having kids can be bad for your relationship.
Young ones, anyway.
But family is good for your relationship.
It’s a peer pressure thing. If all of your friends and family associate you and your partner as a couple, it’s harder to break up.
And finally … the results
An 80% likelihood of staying together for another two years! I’ll take that. DataRobot’s Michaelson beat me with a 90% chance, but he has 18 years of marriage on me.
Here’s DataRobot’s breakdown
The summary: Your chances of staying with someone are better if you two have a long marriage, lots of family members, fewer young kids around, and a good level of education.
What would Michaelson say to anyone who hates the idea of machine learning being used to predict personal lives?
“I totally understand,” he said. “We kept that sort of thing in mind as we were picking out the questions. The other thing is — we’re not doing anything fancy, this is letting the data speak. “My perspective is that I’d rather know what the data says, then make an informed decision. Maybe you take this quiz, maybe you say it’s rubbish and that you don’t like it. But at least you know!”
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