When Israel isn’t creating Terminators, apparently they’re going after other bad ideas, like teaching robots about human behavior, especially the human sense of humor, by using the Internet. Did nobody explain the GIFT to these people?
Anyway, a bunch of Israeli researchers have taught a computer how to recognize sarcasm 77% of the time. Yes, the favorite passive-aggressive tactic of teenagers everywhere has been reduced to an equation they probably can’t solve because they were too busy drawing obscene pictures in math class. How’d they do it?
By reading 66,000 Amazon.com reviews, and looking for patterns of sarcasm. Yes, a group of researchers read Amazon.com reviews, line by line, looking for sarcastic comments. Once they found the patterns, they sourced them into several different classes of sarcasm, created an algorithm, and then unleashed the computer on a test set. The computer was able to spot sarcasm almost as often as your parents.
So, aside from ensuring our computers now have a better sense of humor than most of the people using them, what’s the benefit? It’ll allow computers to better understand opinions by scanning the Internet, and it’ll also make computers better, in the long run, to figure out what humans actually mean when they say something.
It will also guarantee that the first thing our robot overlords will do when they take over is rickroll us, because we’re betting these researchers didn’t teach the computer what “old meme” is.
[ via PopSci ]