Publish at January 18 2023 Updated January 18 2023

Predicting behavior by lifestyle with Datagotchi

Voting in elections, favorite reading, mental health... an effective prediction tool, supported by A.I.


Jointly developed by professors Yannick Dufresne and Simon Coulombe of Laval University's Department of Political Science and Department of Industrial Relations and Catherine Ouellet, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Toronto, the Datagotchi collects its users' preferences based on a few dozen questions like:

  • "What is your favorite music genre?",
  • "How many tattoos do you have?"
  • "Do you have any pets?"
  • "Are you a vegetarian?"

... questions that lead the user to create their avatar.  It is precisely the playful aspect of Datagotchi that makes its strength. The mass of data collected is then processed with the support of an Artificial Intelligence looking for the strongest correlations that can be used to predict behavior by lifestyle.

The development of the Datagotchi was supported by three technical partners from Laval University:

The Datagotchi has been and will be tested in several contexts:

  • Canada's fall 2021l federal general election
  • Quebec's September 2022 general election
  • Japan's upcoming election
  • Montreal's Salon du livre
  • Gatineau's Salon du livre.

Research shows that certain cultural behaviors are highly predictive.

"the gradual decline, since the 1990s, of the predictive and explanatory power of traditional structural cleavages - such as social class or religion - on voting. The central argument of my thesis is that the decline in the predictive power of traditional variables on voting does not mean that socialization is less important in political choices. Using data collected by Datagotchi, my thesis demonstrates that lifestyle, e.g., cultural and material consumption, leisure activities, and the like, is a marker of socialization, and thus indicative of deeper social and political behaviors such as voting choice."

For the full article: The Datagotchi has the wind in its sails - Yvan Larose

The Datagotchi Elections Quebec

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Université Laval

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Québec, Qc - G1V 0A6

Tél.: 418 656-2764

1 877 606-5566

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