University brings human intellect and technology together to solve social media puzzle

uComp project running out of Modul University in Austria aims to extract complex and unstructured data from social media noise and interpret it in a robust, accurate and scalable way - and in real time

A team of university researchers in Austria are pooling human intelligence and cutting-edge data mining technology in a bid to solve the puzzle of understanding social media and online-based consumer sentiments accurately.

The uComp research project at the Modul University in Vienna, aims to extract complex, unstructured and often contradictory knowledge from social media engagement, along with other noisy and multilingual online data sets, and interpret it in a robust, accurate and scalable way. It plans to achieve this by combining newly created automated knowledge extraction software tools with the “wisdom of the crowds”.

In June, the uComp project announced an open source-based extensible Web Retrieval Toolkit (eWRT), which captures data from different public sources such as social media information, and accurately identifies gathered information items using language recognition. It also claims to promote a transparent approach to analysing data from social media platforms.

The new tool also supports text acquisition, detection of phonetic similarities, as well as standardised integration and archiving of captured information. Additional functions include the ability to archive large volumes of data, as well as manage and normalise relevant metadata.

"Millions of people express their opinions using social media, but with conventional methods we are unable to determine the collective mood expressed in social media in real time,” the head of Modul University’s New Media Technology department and project technical director, professor Arno Scharl, said.

“We do not know which aspects move people, mobilise people or stimulate their thoughts. The technologies from the uComp project provide us with better ways to capture opinions on a global basis, irrespective of language barriers, national borders and cultural differences."

Unlike traditionally structured databases such as libraries or large corporate archives, online information is fragmented and disordered, which makes it difficult to extract knowledge automatically, the university professor explained. Social media makes it even more complicated because it is difficult to determine the specific context of a posting, while the use of slang, dialects or foreign words challenges existing tools for text analysis.

The eWRT software package has its roots in another Austrian research project called Divine, which looks at aspects of dynamic information integration and visualisation. In addition, the research is also working off emerging research findings in Embedded Human Computation, which aims to integrate and advance human and machine computation research.

According to the uComp website, EHC goes beyond mere data collection and embeds human computation into adaptive knowledge extraction workflows. The project aims to provide a scalable and generic HC framework for knowledge extraction and evaluation, delegating the most difficult tasks to large communities of users and continuously learning from their feedback to optimise automated methods.

Although uComp’s work is generic, the team’s main focus is on climate change because of the complex data sets and often conflicting interpretations. It is now collaborating with a range of international bodies including the European Environment Agency, and the NASA Earth Observatory.

The uComp project is being funded by the Austrian Science Fund and is supported by the UK’s University of Sheffield, France’s Laboratoire d'Informatique pour la Mécanique et les Sciences de l'Ingénieur and the Vienna University of Economics and Business and Modul University Vienna.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, the uComp team plans to focus on human analysis and validating data gathered with the new eWRT tool. Professor Scharl also claimed the work is entering “unknown digital territory” by integrating the ‘games with a purpose’ approach into its framework to identify complex knowledge patterns.

The ‘games with a purpose’ approach has already been used in EHC research and includes using online games for classifying documents or for evaluating automatic translations.

"We are currently investigating ways of engaging people and providing incentives for participants to share their knowledge,” professor Scharl said. “At the same time we need to evaluate the reliability of their contributions, prevent manipulation and assess the quality of results.

“The uComp project will advance the state of the art by offering all these capabilities in an integrated, reusable framework."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

More social media innovation

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Craig Davis

​Leadership resilience, startups scaling up, marketing best practices, customer insights - these are just a few of the topics we manage to explore in the latest episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO featuring Craig Davis.

More Videos

Good day sir / madamWe CLOSED JOINT-STOCK COMPANY AO KAYUM NEFT OIL COMPANY is one of theleading Oil & Gas trading companies in Russi...

BARYBKIN ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVI

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Definitely bookmarked for future reading! Check this website https://a2designlab.com/ with lots of ...

Ryota Miyagi

Brene Brown: What it takes to be a brave leader right now

Read more

Well said! It is high time to look into the cultural values and beliefs of the audience before serving with the ads. If it is against the...

Praveen Kumar

The X factor in multicultural media planning and buying - Digital advertising - CMO Australia

Read more

I completely agree with you. High-quality customer service only strengthens loyalty to the company and helps to increase sales and increa...

Natali

Mercer CMO: How B2B brands can achieve customer love

Read more

I can imagine Google just not providing hits for these business.They need Google more than Google needs them.What about all the other sea...

Michael Hackett

Google hits out at ACCC draft code of conduct for news media negotiations

Read more

Blog Posts

Life beyond the cookie: 5 steps to mapping the future of marketing measurement

​There’s no denying there’s been a whirlwind of response to the imminent demise of the third-party cookie from all parts of the industry. But as we’ve collectively come to better understand the implications, it’s clear this change is giving the digital advertising industry the opportunity to re-think digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy.

Natalie Stanbury

Director of research, IAB Australia

Ensuring post-crisis success

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed brands’ CX shortcomings and a lack of customer understanding. Given ongoing disruption, customer needs, wants and expectations are continually changing, also causing customers to behave in different ways. Just look at hoarding toilet paper, staple and canned food, medicinal and cleaning products.

Riccardo Pasto

senior analyst, Forrester

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Sign in