Apparently a team of boffins employed by UK firm Corpora Software has come up with a means to automatically determine whether an article is positive or negative in tone. New Scientist goes on to speculate that this might make the profession of PR redundant. Sneak would, of course, be the first to welcome the end of PR, but reluctantly recognises that there is a bit more to the profession than reading the papers. No computer program, however sophisticated, is ever going to schmooze over an alcoholic beverage, suddenly suffer a coughing fit to interrupt a spokesman who has started to say the wrong thing, or succeed in cajoling a bored hack to attend a pointless press conference with its powers of persuasion. Other than that, the software - called Sentiment, and which analyses the grammatical structure of articles - aims to help out by ranking articles as positive, negative or neutral. It sounds like a huge step forward and a remarkable feat of ingenuity. Sneak wonders if it can detect sarcasm.
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