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New Machine to detect Sarcasm in Social Networks

It is a reality that is not always easy to detect sarcasm or irony in social networks. For this reason, a team of researchers from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, have created the first machine capable of deciphering the sarcastic intentions of a written text.

The system works by converting phrases or ironic tweets, in others that reveal the true meaning of what the author was trying to say. For its creators, this tool has interesting applications that go well beyond the realm of social networks since it can better serve the communicative skills of people with autism or Asperger syndrome, who find it difficult to capture the ironic nuances.

Most people can easily appreciate the irony when they are having a face-to-face conversation, thanks to the nuances of non-verbal communication such as facial expression or tone of voice. There is even a study done in 2008 by the University of Calgary, Canada, which states that children are already able to appreciate it from the age of five.

But the thing changes when it comes to the internet. Another experiment, conducted in 2006 by the University of New York, revealed that volunteers were only able to discover that emails were ironic in 60% of cases. In fact, in the field of the internet has come to coin the so-called Poe Act, which sums up very expressively this difficulty.

It is an aphorism coined in 2005 by a user named Nathan Poe in a forum that debated on creationism, and that proposes that in the absence of a wink, an emoticon or any other signal, it is impossible to differentiate an extreme ideological stance of His parody.

In short, this unwritten law, what he postulates is how difficult it is to capture irony and sarcasm in networks. And the main problem is that to achieve this requires an effort, and in these times of technological immediacy, it does not seem that everyone is willing to do it. An investigation by the University of Glasgow revealed (analyzing the looks of the volunteers) that to capture the sarcastic content of a sentence, all participants had to read it at least twice, albeit unconsciously.

Fortunately, the invention developed by Israeli researchers will make it easier from now on.

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