UCF Cracks Sarcasm: With a Crocodile Smile?

May 18, 2021

I read some big news from Big News. The story “Researchers Develop A.I. That Can Detect Sarcasm” explains that smart software has the ability to parse text so that a determination can be made about the degree of non-smarty writing can be detected. The article states:

The team taught the computer model to find patterns that often indicate sarcasm and combined that with teaching the program to correctly pick out cue words in sequences that were more likely to indicate sarcasm. They taught the model to do this by feeding it large data sets and then checked its accuracy.

Presumably the hand-crafting of the training set is able to keep pace with the language of those seeking customer support. I have commented about the brilliance and responsiveness of the customer support available from major companies; for example, Microsoft and Verizon. Improving upon the clarity of information available from these organizations is difficult for me to envision. The excellent handling of SolarWinds by Microsoft and the management acumen demonstrated by Verizon with regard to Yahoo chisels a benchmark in marketing effectiveness.

The write up adds:

The multi-head self-attention module aids in identifying crucial sarcastic cue-words from the input, and the recurrent units learn long-range dependencies between these cue-words to better classify the input text.

Mix in sentiment analysis, and the simplicity of the method is evident.

I noted this statement:

Sarcasm detection in online communications from social networking platforms is much more challenging.

It seems that one of the final frontiers of human utterance has been cross. Sarcasm has been cracked. As I write this I manifest a crocodile smile. The reason? The time and cost of maintaining the training set so it reflects what TikTok and Dread users “do” with language may be a sticking point. Then the rules must be updated in near real time, assuming that the data flows are related to crime, war fighting, or financial fraud.

A big crocodile? Yes, and a big smile. But research grants and graduate students are eager to contribute because… degree.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2021


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