The great thing about online social networking services is that they allow you to connect with anyone in the world. The bad news, though, is that there are bound to be some people out there that you don’t really want to be connected to. Of course, most systems give you the option to block other users who’re bothering you, but a new Japanese social network just might be able to stop such unpleasantness before it ever begins, thanks to the fact that only applicants who’re cleared by a strict artificial intelligence examination will be allowed to join.
Japan’s Lip Inc. is the developer behind Lemon, the social network system which began beta testing in late June and made its general user debut on July 14. In Lemon’s case, though, the term “general user” isn’t entirely accurate, since the network is placing stringent limits on who can join.
In contrast to orthodox social network platforms, which seek to acquire as many users as quickly as possible, Lip Inc. founder Yusuke Matsumura says that Lemon will provide quality over quantity in its social interactions. Together with other researchers, Matsumura developed a proprietary AI for Lemon which screens applicants by sifting through their profile information and preexisting social media activities. Those who are determined to have an affinity with at least 30 percent of Lemon’s current users are allowed to join, while those who don’t will have to settle for using Facebook, Twitter, and other more egalitarian forms of online communication.
▼ The Lemon log-in screen, which isn’t giving non-members so much as a peek as to what’s inside
Approval from the Lemon AI isn’t the only condition for joining Lemon, either. At present, all users must be either university or graduate school students. The Lemon website specifically states that it’s looking for student entrepreneurs and writers, as well as those who have studied abroad. People who’ve received job offers of employment from elite businesses are also looked favorably upon, as are those who are yet to secure employment but thinking seriously about their future careers.
▼ Students who are also models are welcome too, either because of the high potential for networking in the modeling field, or perhaps just because it’s always nice to have attractive people hanging around.
Matsumura hasn’t revealed the exact selection process employed by the AI, but promises that it looks for deeper criteria than simply how many Lemon users also like your favorite sports team or movie. The goal, he says, is to create a community with strong mutual trust among members, leading to “high-level social interaction,” and he predicts a mere one percent of the nation’s university and graduate students will pass the AI’s rigorous screening.
Once deemed worthy, Lemon operates similarly to other social media platforms, with a bulletin board where users can communicate with each other. The system also gives you a daily list of other Lemon members with whom it judges your affinity level to be especially high.
When asked if placing such a focus on bringing together like-minded individuals would lessen the opportunities for debate and discussion, Matsumura explained that he expects users to autonomously form clusters within the network, and that the exchanges between those clusters will be where its true value will shine through. Eventually, he plans to grant memberships to leading figures and entities from a variety of industries, which should further diversify the Lemon landscape.
Despite its aura of exclusivity, Matsumura’s aim with Lemon isn’t to give bragging rights for those who make it past the club’s AI bouncer, but rather to streamline the process of finding meaningful, fulfilling connections. “To a surprising extent, people can’t verbalize or understand their preferences,” he asserts. “Our users can’t really express what kind of people they want to make connections with.”
If you’re willing to let Lip’s artificial intelligence handle that process for you, and you think your resume is polished enough, you can apply for Lemon, which is free to use, right here.