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Twitter Sarcasm Detected By Computer

Sarcasm on Twitter? Really? Apparently, decontextualized sarcasm is a matter of great concern, because Carnegie Mellon researchers have taken it very seriously. Your tweets may be scrutinized seriously by unsmiling computers in search of sarcasm.

To properly test for sarcasm, the researchers built out a number of factors to test on. Individual tweets subjected to a number of factors, but the study also took into account details from the author's profile, historical content and details from that author's audience. It's a complicated bit of modeling, but testing on the tweet, its author, its audience and its response helped the researcher's sarcasm detector reach an 85 percent accuracy level. That's significantly higher than the 75 percent accuracy rate it hit when analyzing just the content of a tweet without additional factors included.

It's fair to ask why you'd want to go to all this trouble to train a computer to recognize sarcasm on Twitter, but there's a lot of interest in helping machines better understand both the spoken and written word. In fact, the Secret Service previously was trying to find software to detect "sarcasm and false positives" on Twitter to make it easier to determine whether frustrated tweets about blowing up an airport are just someone blowing off steam or an actual threat.

Those who watch the Simpsons recognize this idea; apparently, sarcasm is a strong part of the show.


(Sarcasm detector from The Simpsons)

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. Given the behavior of his colleagues, a sarcasm algorithm would have been helpful.


(Geordi and Data regard the emotion chp)

Would 2001: A Space Odyssey have turned out differently if HAL 9000 had been able to understand sarcasm? How?

See also this article on sentiment analysis.

From Contextualized Sarcasm Detection on Twitter via Engadget

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