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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.' - Isaac Asimov, 1941.

Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
'This digital device was ... A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.