Software Programs Attempt to Analyze the Emotion in Our Writing

Posted on May 9, 2009

New Scientist has an interesting article about how the latest software aims to analyze the emotion in our onlnie writing, including our blog posts and tweets. Currently, this "sentiment analysis" software is being used by marketers to analyze consumers' reaction to products. The article says that software from a company named Sentimine analyzed people's updates on Twitter to see how they felt about Amazon.com's new Kindle DX. Sentimine's software found that 89% of the updates were neutral, 7% were positive and 4% were negative.
Sentimine's software determined that most of the 1500 messages it analysed (89 per cent) were "neutral", while 7 per cent were "positive" and 4 per cent "negative".

Sentimine says a previous analysis showed that two-thirds of blog posts reacting to Apple's MacBook Air were positive about its features - but a similar proportion were negative about its price.
Another software tool that analyzes emotional content is a product called JuLiA. JuLiA has been trained to detect the semantics of abusiveness in user-generated content such as blog comments and message board posts. New Scientist says the developers are also trying to tweak JuLiA so it can find online discussion that is "intelligent, sarcastic, or political in tone."

It's difficult to see how a computer program could know when you are being sarcastic. Even humans sometimes have trouble ascertaining when someone else is being sarcastic. Many people use an emoticon after an instant message or a tweet to express how they are feeling and to help make sure their message is understood by the reader.