Daily Israel Report

Oh, Sure! Israeli Software Detects Sarcasm

Researchers in Israel develop computer algorithm able to identify sarcastic expression in written text.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 5/27/2010, 10:26 AM / Last Update: 5/27/2010, 10:02 AM

Hebrew Univ.
Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have developed a computer algorithm that is able to identify sarcastic expression in written text.

SASI, or Semi-supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification, is based on sentences, patterns of phrases and even punctuation that generally indicate sarcasm. The software then analyzes the selected text and determines which passages match the pre-determined criteria for sarcasm.

A test carried out on 66,000 selected Amazon product reviews and Twitter posts proved successful. After the same material was rated by three humans, the algorithm was found to have been in agreement with the volunteers around 80% of the time - 77% for the product reviews, and 83% for the Tweets.
 
The tool is expected to enable more sophisticated communication between humans and computers, giving a boost to marketers seeking to analyze online public sentiment on products and brands.

The researchers "trained" the algorithm to identify sarcasm by providing it with nearly 5,500 sentences from Amazon reviews that people had previously rated for their sarcasm levels.