Bias Detection Crucial When Using Today’s News Sources to Assist in Decision Making

newsThe big buzz word phrase now days is “fake news,” and it seems people are more confused than ever on what news sources to trust, whether it is TV news broadcasts (local and network), newspapers or the Internet, especially social media. Fake news is a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes. It is published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous players have learned how to use all of these news sources to scramble the truth as well as straight out lie to throw the public on a course of their choice, whether it hurts the economy, the public perception of politicians and politics, and high profile situations or not. What people, including financiers, regular “Joes” and “Jills,” and business executives may not realize is that there are now programs and apps available that can help citizens detect media bias as well as so-called fake news items.

Bias detection can be assessed through sentiment analysis (a form of artificial intelligence), which uses social media and news stories to determine just how “offbeat” something – a story or a post – can be. These highly accurate programs can detect the attitude of the elements in the story or post (including the author), as well as the type of reaction – emotional and otherwise – which the post is hoping to convey.

The attitude may be a judgment or evaluation of something or a person, affective state (that is to say the emotional state of the author or the speaker) or the intended emotional communication (the intended emotional effect). Millennials seem to especially be the target of these posts, as they make up a huge voting block as well as a heavy financial chasm.

Detecting Sentiment Has Becoming Increasingly Important

There are companies that have diligently developed some tools to assist in detecting media bias. One of the things this involves is “opinion mining.” According to BizCommunity.com, this is “the science of using text analysis to understand the drivers behind public sentiment.”

In today’s high stakes world, this is becoming increasingly important for executives that handle financial decisions for those just investing mere thousands as well as those with millions and even billions to put at risk (be real – there is really no such investment that is a “sure thing”). This is why it is important to gather sentiments (including emotions and opinions). “Gather enough opinions – and analyze them correctly – and you have got an accurate gauge of the feelings of the silent majority. This relates not only to how people feel, “but the drivers underlying why they feel the way they do,” says JP Kloppers of BizCommunity.

The mined data can be used to help a company pinpoint how it is doing in the global marketplace, or a financial analyst can use it to gauge more closely what the immediate future holds for a stock. And this, of course, can translate into millions of dollars of profit and even stymie losses.news

It is a huge tool for those smart enough – actually hip enough – to put to use in their everyday operations, especially at analysis and management levels. That applies to political movements as well as simple customer service agendas for fast food joints.

Detecting media bias will become the “in” tool on a massive scale for anyone determined to make a campaign or product a resounding success.

How It Is Done

The arts of artificial intelligence are developing rapidly among some key players in this highly concentrated world. Mining data (including media stories and posts) and analyzing it has become the focal point, for example, of Houston-based Indexer. The firm has an API that is designed to identify the current state of media opinion on the specific subject matter as expressed as a cross-sectional visualization of sentiment polarity (emotion) and subjectivity (opinion) associated with the named entities inside of the news articles people read.

In other words, researchers can apply specific programs to understand the “fair and balanced” nature of the news content chosen to be reviewed. In fact, researchers can answer the question: are media sources such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC biased news organizations?

It may sound complicated, but the mechanisms being developed and those already available can feed decision-makers and analysts more accurate information, and in the long run, save a firm from heavy losses or help create new gains in marketplaces around the world, big and small.

Opinion by Carol Ozemhoya
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)

Sources:

Biz Community: Do you know how people really feel?
Vector (Indexer): The way to bring every corner of the Internet into sharp focus.

Indexer is a tech start-up in the artificial intelligence space and has a focus on computer vision and natural language processing technologies.

Image Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of Stuart Rankin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Charis Tsevis’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Mega Pixel’s Shutter Stock Page – Creative Commons License

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