Sentiment Analysis: Hypercorps Need Emotion Chips
Sentiment analysis is a relatively new field that is heating up, thanks to the fascination that big companies have with how we feel about them.
The basic idea is that we betray our feelings as we chat to each other in social media like Twitter and Facebook. Consultants like Newssift download the chatter and then analyze it, and present corporations with graphs like the one below. Is positive sentiment toward your hypercorp waxing or waning? Here are the hard numbers presented to big retailers.
(Sentiment trends for large retailers)
So how does sentiment analysis work?
The simplest algorithms work by scanning keywords to categorize a statement as positive or negative, based on a simple binary analysis (“love” is good, “hate” is bad). But that approach fails to capture the subtleties that bring human language to life: irony, sarcasm, slang and other idiomatic expressions. Reliable sentiment analysis requires parsing many linguistic shades of gray...
“We are dealing with sentiment that can be expressed in subtle ways,” said Bo Pang, a researcher at Yahoo who co-wrote “Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis,” one of the first academic books on sentiment analysis.
To get at the true intent of a statement, Ms. Pang developed software that looks at several different filters, including polarity (is the statement positive or negative?), intensity (what is the degree of emotion being expressed?) and subjectivity (how partial or impartial is the source?).
(I'm fascinated by the idea that an entirely new science of computer analysis is needed to find out how we consumers feel about companies that promise one thing and deliver another.
Large corporations (or hypercorps, to use John Brunner's word for them from The Shockwave Rider) could easily find out specific facts about their services that consumers do not like. For example, AT&T can read a variety of factual criticisms about their iPhone service in a number of recent tech site blog posts.
However, it is costly to track actual problems with services, and then fix them. Hypercorps like AT&T spend billions honing their brand images, which is just a phrase referring to how we feel about them. If they can track how we feel about them, and then fix how we feel, then the problem is solved.
The service may still suck, but as long as customers don't feel like leaving, it's just as good as actually providing a good service, and much cheaper.)
Anyway, the idea that computer systems might one day learn to interpret the vagaries of human feelings has a long history in science fiction. I'm sure that there are a lot of people who remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation's Commander Data made use of an emotion chip to actually feel emotions himself, which helped him understand his human coworkers and friends.
(Geordi and Data regard the emotion chp)
(Apparently, I'm not yet finished with my feelings about AT&T. Instead of using sentiment analysis to understand how consumers feel about paying 20 bucks per month for the EDGE network, which doles out web pages like Ebenezer Scrooge hands out lumps of coal, AT&T execs could just try using it themselves and then they could feel what we feel directly.)
If you'd like to read an informative article about sentiment analysis that is free from parenthetical ranting, visit NYTimes.com, and you might sift through the informative blog posts on Newssift.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/25/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...' - Edmond Hamilton, 1926.
Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
'Runcible, whose pages were thicker and more densely packed with computational machinery...' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...' - Neal Stephenson, 1992.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'
Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'
Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories