Most of you have heard of ‘Project X Haren’ and/or the ‘riots of 2011’ in London which have been spread all over Facebook and Twitter. But what if I told you that we could already sense these dangers upfront? And what if we could stop these threats before they were going to happen? Simply said; a computer system that could help civil unrest and identify early threats to public safety by analyzing posting on twitter and accessing public mood. That sounds promising to me, don’t you think?
A computer system that can sense potential threats and could save our lives, that sounds great but how does it work? Will it really safe us from real life dangers? Or should we be more skeptic about it? Let me explain this system a bit more, recently The Guardian announced the news that a new computer system has been developed to analyze Twitter in order to map public sentiment and can sense potential dangers upfront. This computer system called ‘Emotive’ has been developed by a research team of the Loughborough University’s new centre for information management in the United Kingdom, this system can analyze 2,000 tweets per seconds. The software will search for forms of emotions such as aggression, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame and confusion. Thus, ‘Emotive’ geographically map the emotional mood of a nation and its reaction, it will evaluate the mass mood and even help the police to track potential criminal behavior or threats to public safety and may be able to guide national policy on the best way to react to major incidents.
The system is currently only being used to analyze tweets in the United Kingdom, but it can easily be scaled up to monitor tweets globally, of which there are 10,000 a second. The research team has already secured further financial funding that will enable researchers to develop another prototype system that can automatically detect events, analyze emotions and extract more summary details of importance of social media. Academics are also hoping to explore the possibility of predicting personality profiles from the natural language used on Twitter and similar social streams.
A computer system that can save us from potential threats sounds promising to me, however I don’t think that every single threat can be stopped by this heroic computer system since people with dangerous thoughts will most likely not post it online before they take action. I do believe that most threats which are going to be spread though the social media can be stopped by reinforcements as this system will work as an alarm and can protect us from future dangers. Furthermore, I believe that this system will be successfully be implemented globally in the future. Unfortunately, this system is only analyzing twitter therefore I do think that a more sophisticated system should be created to analyse multiple social media platforms such as Facebook/Google+, but what about our privacy? Will this system harm our privacy? Will it be like ‘Big Brother’ then? I’m curious about your thoughts, what do you think of this new computer system? Do you believe that it will save us from all the threats spread through the social media?