ikigAI: optimizing your reason for being (ikigai) with AI

3 min readDec 21, 2020

Personal-development and self-help books have found a supply and demand equilibrium that is compromised by both the addiction of its consumers and the vanity of its producers, often without resolving any of the issues, sometimes even creating them with addiction and self-paralysis.

Thousands of motivational speeches and videos are published on a daily basis. Watching them inflates a self-confidence that is capable of anything in theory and nothing in practice.

When it comes to living long and living well, the Japanese might have the secret recipe. The Okinawan islands of Japan are home to the largest proportion of centenarians and is where people live the longest in the world. The secret might be Ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being” and is determined based on 4 questions: What you love? What you’re good at? What the world needs and what you can be paid for?

Once all four questions are satisfied, you will have a good ikegai, you a have good reason to get out of bed and kickstart your day. Everyone wants to have a great reason to be. Everyone wants to optimise his or her ikegai. The questions is how…

One way to go about this is by answering one question after the other. Naturally, one would start with what one loves, until one becomes good at it, and can earn a living…let alone the world needing it. Alternatively, one can see what the world needs (for instance through this list of causes ) and accordingly tune ones skills vis-a-vis supply and demand and get paid, hoping that one enjoys it simply for the sake of making this place a better place…etc.

A lifetime might be short considering all the scenarios that one can explore before reaching a satisfactory ikegai with no regrets.

What if we ask AI for some guidance? What if ikegAI could show us the way towards the best reason to be? Following is a proof of concept:

  • LoveSkill = Deep learning a person’s preferences and hobbies wrt skill and apprentice development in Bayesian Networks
  • NeedIncome = Deep learning the world’s needs wrt supply and demand and money making opportunities in Bayesian Networks
  • Create a LoveSkill2NeedIncome alternative to word2vec using Generative Adverserial Netoworks
  • Identify the set of skills that you love that will optimize income for current world needs and zeitgeist.


This research is still in progress and though I have some preliminary results tailored to personal interests, hobbies and skills, it may become valuable to the community and to other truth-seekers. Hit me up if you have questions or concerns.

Okinawan young lady in Ishigaki Island showing her ikigai




Heptaglot Artist, Data Scientist, Filmmaker exploring Creative AI. Started the GAN AI Art Movement (2016). Former Postdoc @CNRS PhD @INFORMATICS. 3xTEDx Speaker