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  • Tech Discussion secret service wants a sarcasm detector
    ArsTechnica Wrote:The US Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, visiting heads of state, and others, posted a work order on Monday seeking the development of social media analytics software capable of detecting sarcasm online.


    In addition to the “ability to detect sarcasm and false positives," the work order seeks the development of software with such alternative capabilities as “influencer identification,” “access to historical Twitter data,” the “ability to search online content in multiple languages,” “audience segmentation,” and “data visualization representations, [like] heat maps,” etc.

    The agency hopes that such software would allow it to “synthesize large sets of social media data“ and “identify statistical pattern analysis.” Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the service, said the "objective is to automate our social media monitoring process. Twitter is what we analyze. This is real live stream analysis… We are looking for the ability to quantify our social media reach. We aren’t looking solely to detect sarcasm,” reported The Washington Post.

    Donovan said the new tools would enable the service to sift through data streams in real time in a bid to protect national security interests.

    The work order instructs developers to submit applications by June 9.

    There are plenty of skeptics

    “I am not aware that anyone has a satisfactory algorithm or system that can detect sarcastic sentences,” Bing Liu, a computer scientist and author of a book on Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining, told The Dish. Sarcasm analysis in the realm of politics “requires some background knowledge, which computers are not good at,” he said.

    Others argue that the work order shows the intelligence community’s fundamental lack of understanding of how the Internet works. For example, The Consumerist’s Mary Beth Quirk said, “Basically, the Secret Services would love it if someone would explain the Internet so it doesn’t go around arresting sarcastic people with itchy social media trigger fingers.”

    In light of the foregoing, we thought we'd take the opportunity to remind our readers of a few instances in which the authorities have shown just how little sense of humor they have when it comes to social media threats and how incredibly difficult it can be to detect sarcasm online.

    After posting an image of her baby holding a bong up to his face online in 2010, the child's 19-year-old mother was arrested and charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Assistant state attorney Lara Mattina explained that the more serious charge of child abuse "does not apply in this case because the child was not exposed to drugs... DCF [the Department of Children and Families] gave the infant a drug test and it came back negative." A DCF investigator also visited the home and determined that the baby had no injuries, reported NBC News.

    Another 19-year-old spent five months in jail after making what authorities perceived to be a terroristic threat to shoot up a Kindergarden class, made in a post on Facebook just two months after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, reported NBC News. The post read, "I think I'ma shoot up a kindergarden, and watch the blood of the innocent rain down...and eat the beating heart of one of them." The young man's attorney, Donald Flanary, argued that in light of the context, his client was clearly being "sarcastic." Flanary continued to explain that his added remarks like "JK" and "LOL" and the fact that the comment was made in the context of an argument that started on the League of Legends game website and continued onto Facebook point to the fact that this was not a serious threat, NBC News noted.

    A Twitter user "Sarah" with the handle @QueenDemetriax_ got in trouble in April 2014 after tweeting to @AmericanAir, "hello my name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye." American Airlines publicly responded, "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI," only to delete their response soon thereafter. The account for the individual who claims to be a teenage girl from the Netherlands has been suspended by Twitter, reported Fox 31 Denver.

    source: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/...ial-media/

    so, here's my issue...

    it's not like agent fred retired and as such, the government has lost it's ability to detect sarcasm on the internet... the government has never had the ability to detect sarcasm... on or off the internet. my point is that they already have a reliable method of determining what a terrorist threat is: an investigation.

    besides, at the end of the day, do we really want to give government agencies the ability to detect sarcasm?

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Many governments have a well developed ability to detect sarcasm.
    They fill their prisons with people guilty of making fun of the leadership.

    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
    - Robert A. Heinlein
    (06-05-2014, 05:58 PM)sporkium Wrote:  the government has never had the ability to detect sarcasm... on or off the internet.

    No matter what happens, America will always be ran by old dudes with tons on money and no real concept of who their people really are.

    Today an initiative was launched called Reset The Net (or #resetthenet). At midnight thousands of sites flashed a message to their viewers about NSA monitoring tactics and their other creepy/sneaky shit.

    I wouldn't put it past these 'old guys at the party' to think this will help 'get them in good' with the Internet crowd. Rolleyes
    that's all good and fine...

    currently, they have web crawlers that pick up all kinds of seedy remarks... and it works. what they don't need is an artificial intelligence to tell them when someone is being sarcastic... and let's face it: yes, we have autonomous robots and computers that can play jeopardy... an artificial intelligence that can determine when someone is being sarcastic is far more complicated.

    we don't need a multi billion dollar computer program that sits around all day thinking about if op was serious when they said they wanted someone to choke on their dick.

    oh, and i said 'billion dollar' on purpose... the initial budget might only be a few million (more like 534 million) but there will be cost over-runs. there are always cost over-runs. there will be cost over-runs for every year until they cut the funding for the project. in the end, it will be far cheaper just to have agent fred sit down and review what was said instead... that is... unless... you can just add a 'lol' or a 'jk' to the end of everything you post and that is enough to confuse fred.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    it's a sad old world when you can't think or write down what you want anymore

    yes,how about a little investigation before throwing babies who're going googoo into jail?

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