Beyond “Positive” and “Negative” – Gavagai looks beyond the first take at sentiment analysis

“Sentiment analysis” as a research field took its time to become an overnight success. From being a concern of behavioural psychologists and philologists, about seven years ago, at the 2004 AAAI Spring Symposium on “Exploring Attitude and Affect in Text: Theories and Applications”, it entered stage as an application for language technology and information access technology. The commercial potential is self evident and straightforward, the pickings are easy and marketable, and the technology is fun for engineers to play with (way more fun than plain old topical search engines). The field has rightly exploded with commercial activity.

Some Random Emotions
Positive or negative sentiment? (Ill. by Joseph Clement Coll)

So far, applications for sentiment analysis have focussed on detecting and aggregating positive and negative sentiment in text, especially social media. But there is so much more than polarity to work with!

Here at Gavagai we have seen sentiment analysis as one of the many application areas for our base technology. But Ethersource is capable of much more than distinguishing “positive” and “negative” affect. Our poles of sentiment are tailored to the needs of our current customers and our processing model is built to accommodate rapid change in interest. Ethersource currently tracks sentiments such as “uncertainty”, “violence”, “sexy”, “worry”, “financial volatility” and new sentiments can be added in minutes. This is not something we built for marketing purposes: this is based on our view of how sentiment, opinion, mood, and attitude is expressed in text.

Thus – from our point of departure – we are very happy to note that the Research Breakout Session at this year’s Sentiment Analysis Symposium – a convention for practitioners in the field – specifically focusses on questions of “Beyond Positive and Negative”.

We are preparing a longer technology paper on the topic, but in the meanwhile, do read up on and make note of what the good people are saying at the symposium! Boredom. Curiosity! Uncertainty? Skepticism. Envy. Enthusiasm! Remember all those other emotions!

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