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A*Star working on tools to analyse public sentiments on social media


Researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) are developing linguistic processing tools that could help businesses and governments to gauge public sentiments, by collecting and analysing information from tons of social media posts.

The idea is to use what the researchers termed as “sentiment analysis” in developing socially intelligent systems. “Social media make it equally tough for both governments as well as companies to deal with challenges of the new world where consumers sometimes know a lot more than the company’s sales people or even their business owner. Sentiment analysis help (organisations) understand people’s feelings expressed through social media,” A*Star senior scientist Yinping Yang said at a conference held on Monday (March 20) by online hotel booking platform Agoda.

Giving a short presentation on the project, Ms Yang, who is part of the team of researchers, noted that “companies are stressed about collecting data as well as taking action to use it”. She said: “It is equally important as to how the data is processed as the insights don’t come automatically.”

Other speakers at the event included representatives from Accenture Digital, Digital McKinsey, Google, Government Technology Agency of Singapore, and Grab who spoke on various aspects of big data analysis, including how their organisations manage big data, the various factors at play, and the need for data to be made accessible to realise its full potential.

Ms Marian Panganiban, regional policy and research manager at Grab, spoke about the ride hailing company’s strategy around its collaboration with governments and the public to solve South-east Asia’s transport problems. “Knowledge sharing that will help consumers is something that Grab also supports, and we believe it is a key step in constant progress,” she reiterated.

On the inaugural event, Agoda chief technology officer Yaron Zeidman noted that there is a “disparity (between) knowing and understanding” big data. “In order to better make sense of the power of the information we have on hand, we first need to understand the impact it has on various industries,” he said.

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