Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Software agents give out Advice

Filed under
Software

Governments and big business like to indulge in media spin, and that means knowing what is being said about them. But finding out is becoming ever more difficult, with thousands of news outlets, websites and blogs to monitor.

Now a British company is about to launch a software program that can automatically gauge the tone of any electronic document. It can tell whether a newspaper article is reporting a political party's policy in a positive or negative light, for instance, or whether an online review is praising a product or damning it. Welcome to the automation of PR.

Till now, discovering whether the coverage you are getting is good or bad, negative or neutral has usually meant hiring a "reputation management" firm. Teams of people employed by the company will read through everything written about a chosen organisation, person, event or issue and report back on how favourable it is.

As well as being expensive, this can be a long, slow process, says Nick Jacobi, director of research for the Corpora Software company in Surrey, UK. "There's a massive information overload." A single news agency may churn out more than eight articles each hour. That is almost 200 stories a day per news outlet.

Previous attempts to automate this kind of analysis have used one of two techniques. In the first, called machine learning, a program is trained by being given thousands of articles already determined by a human reader to be positive or negative in tone.
But learning in this way can lead to mistakes. For example, if a series of the training articles mentions bomb attacks on a mosque in Iraq, the program may incorrectly conclude that all other mentions of mosques are negative too.

The alternative is the lexicon approach, in which certain words are classified as either positive or negative. But plenty of words can be both. "The plot was unpredictable" and "the steering was unpredictable" differ by just one word. Yet the word "unpredictable" has a positive connotation in the first example and a negative meaning in the second.

And even if that problem is solved, just picking up on positive or negative words can also lead to mistakes, as is demonstrated by the sentence: "Everyone told me it was terrible, that I would hate it, but in the end it wasn't at all bad".

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat CTO unexpectedly quits, amid rumors of executive 'friction'

No-one among the rank and file at Red Hat seem to have seen this coming. In a move the Linux giant's staffers said was "shocking" and a "punch in the gut," long-time Red Hat chief technology officer Brian Stevens has resigned. In a short press release, the company announced: "Brian Stevens will step down as CTO." In the same release, Red Hat's president and chief executive Jim Whitehurst said, "We want to thank Brian for his years of service and numerous contributions to Red Hat’s business. We wish him well in his future endeavors." Read more

Is Microsoft engaging in digital imperialism?

Windows, the common carrier of Microsoft, is such a sordid mess that it suffers regular glitches and conducts mass surveillance on users. Microsoft knows that without Windows it cannot survive, so dirty tricks resume in a very big way. This is not a beep on the radar but somewhat of a surge. Nothing is going to change in Munich, but Microsoft is trying to maintain an international/universal perception that the migration to GNU/Linux was a disaster. Numerous anonymous blogs were created to attack Munich over this and provocateurs of Microsoft loved citing them, only to be repeatedly proven wrong. Microsoft is trying to make an example out of Munich in all sorts of nefarious ways. We need to defend Munich from this malicious assault by the convicted monopolist and corrupt enterprise that’s acting as though it fights for its very survival (while indeed laying off tens of thousands of employees). Read more

Shortlist of open source software used at NASA lab

Yes! We use a lot of open source. The short list includes Python, GitHub, Processing, VLC, jQuery, D3.js, Blender, VRUI, ImageJ, VMD, ParaView, MeshLab, VNC, ImageMagick, SWIG, Emacs, and many more. We like using open source because it gives us more flexibility because of licensing and allows us the opportunity to contribute back to the community using our expertise. Our favorite open source project that we work on is OpenMDAO. This project is run out of another Division at our Center. Our team provides some programming support. OpenMDAO is an open source Multidisciplinary Design Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) framework, written in Python. You can use it to develop an integrated analysis and design environment for your engineering challenges. Read more

GSoC: Thumping the Malaria and voyaging in cosmos with KStars

Let's talk about my project now. KStars is desktop planetarium application under KDE Education Projects. I developed QML based cool interface to enable users to browse through image database of community of astrophotographers (i.e. astrobin.com) which contains more than 1,20,000 (number is increasing everyday) real time and very high resolution images along with various information related to them (i.e. Date on which image was captured, Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, RA Centre, DEC Centre, Telescope or Camera used, Description added by astrophotographer etc). I am sure that this browser will enthrall school children by showing them real time images of stars and galaxies located at hundreds of light year far from earth. Read more