New Algorithm Improves Sarcasm Detection Using Multimodal Analysis

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THUNDER BAY – TECH – Oscar Wilde once said that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but the highest form of intelligence. This might be because sarcasm is tough to use and understand. It’s tricky to convey through text and often misinterpreted even in person. Subtle tone changes that indicate sarcasm often confuse both people and computer algorithms, making it hard for virtual assistants and content analysis tools to detect.

Xiyuan Gao, Shekhar Nayak, and Matt Coler from the Speech Technology Lab at the University of Groningen, Campus Fryslân, have developed a new multimodal algorithm to improve sarcasm detection.

This algorithm examines multiple aspects of audio recordings for better accuracy. Gao will present their work on Thursday, May 16, at 10:35 a.m. EDT during the joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Canadian Acoustical Association, held May 13-17 at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa, Ontario.

How It Works

Traditional sarcasm detection algorithms often rely on a single factor, which limits their effectiveness. Gao, Nayak, and Coler took a different approach by using two complementary methods — sentiment analysis of text and emotion recognition from audio — to create a more complete picture.

“We extracted acoustic parameters like pitch, speaking rate, and energy from speech,” Gao explained. “Then we used Automatic Speech Recognition to transcribe the speech into text for sentiment analysis. Next, we assigned emoticons to each speech segment to reflect its emotional content. By combining these multimodal cues into a machine learning algorithm, we leveraged the strengths of both auditory and textual information along with emoticons for a comprehensive analysis.”

Future Improvements

While the team is optimistic about their algorithm’s performance, they are already looking for ways to make it even better.

“There are many expressions and gestures people use to highlight sarcasm in speech,” Gao said. “We need to integrate these better into our project. Additionally, we want to include more languages and adopt new sarcasm recognition techniques.”

Broader Applications

This new approach has applications beyond just identifying sarcasm. The researchers believe it can be useful in many fields.

“The development of sarcasm recognition technology can benefit other research domains that use sentiment analysis and emotion recognition,” Gao said. “Traditionally, sentiment analysis focuses on text and is used for tasks like online hate speech detection and customer opinion mining. Emotion recognition from speech can be applied to AI-assisted health care. Using a multimodal approach for sarcasm recognition offers valuable insights for these research domains.”

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