back to article A sarcasm detector bot? That sounds absolutely brilliant. Definitely

A sarcasm detector bot that outputs emojis in response to strings of text? Yep, it’s another brilliant AI project in the quiet days of summer. If you can spot the sarcasm above, chances are you’re human rather than a bot. The particular bot that we’re talking about here is made by DeepMoji, a spinoff from the Massachusetts …

  1. Mark 110

    Handy . .

    There's a few commentards on here that might find this useful!!

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Handy . .

      I can think of others who might help. One or two glorious leaders for starters...

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Not so Handy . .

      It failed to detect the sarcasm in "Trump is the greatest!"

      1. Just Enough
        Unhappy

        Re: Not so Handy . .

        Unfortunately that's just the kind of statement that someone might really mean. What chance does an AI bot have if it doesn't know how much of an idiot the writer is?

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Not so Handy . .

          Yup! As we both know, a huge aspect of most languages, including English, is tonal as well as contextual. And tonal cannot be captured very well in writing, so for example in written English, one invests more in context to set the tone. In a stand alone sentence as in my example, whether the sentence is meant to be sarcastic or earnest would be conveyed (between native English speakers) entirely tonally. So I would argue that single written sentences are not a fair test even for a human.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Not so Handy . .

            "And tonal cannot be captured very well in writing, so for example in written English, one invests more in context to set the tone"

            AND, you can use punctuated! text!, *emphasis*, italics, _underscore_, CAPITALIZATION, and other means of "tonal exposition" in your writing style.

            Yeah. I do that. You're welcome.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Not so Handy . .

          "What chance does an AI bot have if it doesn't know how much of an idiot the writer is?"

          that's right, it could be some IDIOT that believes the lame-stream (left-wing biased) media's negative portrayal of Trump . However, being REALISTIC, I'd say Trump isn't THE greatest, but is pretty great nonetheless.

      2. scrubber
        Headmaster

        Re: Not so Handy . .

        The greatest what?

        It's not the boy's fault if you can't form a complete sentence.

        1. scrubber

          Re: Not so Handy . .

          OK, do I own my inability to check my phone's auto correction of bot to boy, or do I go for being sexist that all bots are male?

    3. TheVogon

      Re: Handy . .

      Presumably it's targeted at he American market. Along with Wit and Irony detector bots...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Handy . .

        Presumably it's targeted at he American market. Along with Wit and Irony detector bots...

        I'd wager it can't distinguish between irony and sarcasm. Not least because of it's place of origin.

        1. Robert Moore
          Coat

          Re: Handy . .

          I'd wager it can't distinguish between irony and sarcasm. Not least because of it's place of origin.

          Whenever I need to know if something is ironic I consult the worlds foremost expert on irony. Alanis Morissette.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Handy . .

            Alan is more issette? Why would you call Alan a defunct line of woman's golf wear? What did he ever do to you?

      2. aks

        Re: Handy . .

        Now, what did daddy tell you about stereotyping people?

  2. J P

    This is totally sick

    Now try to work out whether that's me or my godson posting, and calibrate accordingly.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: This is totally sick

      It might take a few more sample messages. The heuristics are looking for a LOL in an inappropriate place.

  3. CT

    Never mind all that - can we have an AI that converts emojis into proper text? There's just too many now and I don't really want to have to learn yet another language at my age.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At least you can see them to complain.

      I can't see them at all & my screen reader can't figure out what the hell they are to TRY to explain them. Every time it comes to one it drops silent for a tick, making me think it's gotten cranky, until I character-step through the "silent part", only to realize there's a character there (the emoji) that it can't read at all.

      So you can see them to be confused by them, but I can't even get that much out of the blasted things. I'd equate it to being stuck in a room with folks deciding to speak a foreign language at random moments, but even that I'd be able to ask someone "Can I get an English translation please?" for those bits - Google translate simply barfs if you feed it an emoji & ask what the hell it means. =-\

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: At least you can see them to complain.

        I can see the emojis but can honestly say I never look at them and if I did I would have no idea of what they are supposed to signify.

        I' m pretty sure I can type real words at least as quickly as looking for a suitable little emoji to stick in a message. It will convey what I mean more accurately than some arbitary symbol too.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: At least you can see them to complain.

          I get the impression those that like to use emoji are mostly incoherent anyway with only a marginal comprehension of whatever language they grew up hearing, hence the use of emoji.

          Most you are going to get is 'man fall down, funny'.

      2. sbt
        WTF?

        Re: At least you can see them to complain.

        I'd argue you're not missing much, but it sounds like a software issue. Colour me extremely surprised that your screen reader doesn't substitute the unicode symbol name followed or preceeded by "emoji", such as for U+1F573, "Hole Emoji". Then again, not sure how other punctuation is handled.

    2. Mike Moyle

      "...I don't really want to have to learn yet another language at my age."

      Damn. Now you've made me want to see someone write a programming language that is all emojis. We could call it ᗧ++.

      1. aks

        Is that Pacman I see before me?

      2. deathOfRats

        ᗧ++

        "Damn. Now you've made me want to see someone write a programming language that is all emojis. We could call it ᗧ++."

        I'm sure nobody has thought of that...

        https://github.com/wheresaddie/Emojinal

        http://www.emojicode.org/

        I like your proposed name more, though :p

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: ᗧ++

          (unicode seems to be not entirely working when I post a reply)

          A programming language that consists ENTIRELY of unicode emoji ? yeah, looking forward to it! After all, it can't be any WORSE than C-pound with ".Not", right?

      3. Adam 1

        Just makes me want to use a message containing a bunch of U+2395 characters (⎕) for the perverse thrill of watching the recipient try to find a font that can display it.

        Still not quite as evil as this.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon
          Joke

          "I' m pretty sure I can type real words at least as quickly as looking for a suitable little emoji to stick in a message. It will convey what I mean more accurately than some arbitary symbol too."

          Of *course* you can.<Rolls eyes towards heaven and sighs>.

    3. 's water music

      Here's one I prepared earlier

      function EmojiTranslate(StrInput,intSubjectAge)

      'Emoji translate function. strInputString:Unicode string for translation.

      'intSubjectAge:age in years of translation requester.

      'Returns unicode string

      If intSubjectAge<30 Then

      EmojiTranslate=StrInput

      Else

      EmojiTranslate="meh"

      End if

      End function

  4. davenewman

    Examples

    Try typing in "Brexit means brexit" and see the tears.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is amazing. I have been waiting for years for a truly purposeful use for AI and then lo and behold someone works out the perfect use. I'm just glad they didn't appropriate it's use in determining how to feed the planet off the resources we have or combining traffic flows to reduce emissions as that would have been a complete waste of processing resources. However, I digress, all hail this wonderful day where sarcasm can be determined by our AI overlords.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suggested test sentences

    This is probably the most informative and useful article I have ever read on the Register.... and that sets

    the bar very high.

    Oh darling this looks just beautiful on you (in reply to "do I look fat in this")

  7. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Paradoxical

    "This is bollocks" sounds like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox "I am lying".

    Is it time to worry that I don't understand "emoji"?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon
      Coat

      Re: Paradoxical

      "Is it time to worry that I don't understand "emoji"?"

      No.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Paradoxical

      Is it time to worry that I don't understand "emoji"

      Only if you're a millenial or a 4-incher (i.e. someone who views the world through a 4-inch phone screen, otherwise it would be 1-incher).

  8. smudge
    Trollface

    A massive market

    There's a massive market for a sarcasm detector bot.

    The USA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A massive market

      Yeah right, like they need really that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A massive market

      I do hope you are not suggesting that our American cousins don't understand the concept of sarcasm? Have you seen the volumes of measurements they use for alcohol? Surely this proves they understand the concept.

      1. TheVogon

        Re: A massive market

        "Have you seen the volumes of measurements they use for alcohol?"

        Well they use pints for measurements of American beers afaik. For spirits there is no standard size for a single shot, except in Utah, where a shot is defined as 1.5 US fl oz.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Windows

          Re: A massive market

          There used to be something called a "fifth," which is one fifth of a gallon. Originally the booze sellers were flogging the fifth as if it were a quart, and eventually the lie became standardized (as so many do). Nowadays we have a metric "fifth," which is 1% smaller. Not nearly good enough, but it'll do.

          1. TheVogon

            Re: A massive market

            "Nowadays we have a metric "fifth,""

            So 750ml - or 3/4 Litre - just like most of the rest of the planet for wine / spirit in bottles. Wow @ the Americans using something that the rest of the world has actually taught in schools within the last 50 years even if you call it a "fifth"!

            (Over the pond, spirits often come in a "pub" size 1 litre option too.)

            1. Mike Moyle

              Re: A massive market

              The liquor industry over here was one of the very few to willingly -- nay, eagerly -- convert to metrics when the government tried to get everyone on board back in 1975. The reason, of course, was that with the exception of going from quarts to liters, every other unit got smaller. But, since people were already used to paying $X for a pint, say, just refer to a 375 ml flask as a "pint" -- close enough! -- and there you go: instant profit-margin boost!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Facepalm

                Re: "Unit got smaller"

                Units do not get smaller. They change the size of the serving.

                "When the units changed, every serving chose the smaller unit out of the two" or similar would work.

                The problem is, not that words have two or more meanings (unit being both a fixed measure, or a varied serving size), but that companies and individuals will use the switchawoo to trick customers.

                "Helps loose weight" and "two smarties per serving" in a bag of "250g Smarties" as an example.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon
                  Joke

                  Re: "Unit got smaller"

                  ""Helps loose weight" and "two smarties per serving" in a bag of "250g Smarties" as an example"

                  Um, as opposed to tightly fitting weight?

                2. Mike Moyle

                  Re: "Unit got smaller"

                  @ technicalben

                  Well, in this case, "unit" was intended as "one bottle, of colloquial category 'half-pint', 'pint', 'fifth', and 'half-gallon"", but "unit" seemed more concise. The size of the unit (bottle) was, in each case (except the quart upsizing to a liter), made smaller. The number of servings in each unit (bottle) went down; the size of the serving did not change.

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: A massive market

              So 750ml - or 3/4 Litre - just like most of the rest of the planet for wine / spirit in bottles.

              I think you'll find it's generally 70cl, not 75. Or at least in my not-inconsiderable experience..

          2. handleoclast

            I plead the fifth

            @Big John

            There used to be something called a "fifth," which is one fifth of a gallon.

            Yeah, but that's not a real gallon. It's short measure.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: A massive market

          "Well they use pints for measurements of American beers afaik."

          Should be redesignated the 'Weeny Pint' being only 16Floz rather than a good British 20Floz.

          I have noticed here in these columns a requirement for sarcasmic and ironic detection for some commentards, though I doubt there is a way to provide a sense of humour app.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Joke

            Re: A massive market

            Why are all the British units larger than the US ones? Hmmm, maybe they're compensating for something...

            1. Paul Woodhouse

              Re: A massive market

              yeah, the size of our cars...

    3. Haku

      Re: A massive market

      If they think a sarcasm detector bot will be the best thing since sliced bread, an irony detector bot will be the toaster, or something, I need an analogy bot.

      1. Spudley

        Re: A massive market

        If they think a sarcasm detector bot will be the best thing since sliced bread, an irony detector bot will be the toaster, or something, I need an analogy bot.

        The irony bot is a marvellous new device, a bit like a Roomba, except that its job is to remove the creases from your clothing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A massive market

          An irony detector bot? Nah it won't sell, it needs to be able to detect other metals too like coppery and goldy.

  9. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Boffin

    Ooh, a sarcasm detector. That's a real *useful* invention...

  10. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Hmm. A sarcasm detector.

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  11. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Best idea ever.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Is this, then, the key to cracking sarcasm on social media?"

    "Artificial intelligence is awesome. Yeah, right"

    I think that the bot's emoji reply was possibly itself being sarcastic.

    1. aks

      thus the Low Confidence

  13. msknight

    So, you're saying that when something is "the shit" that's, "hot stuff," then it can detect that it's something positive, rather than someone commenting on a fresh dump of the brown stuff.

  14. WibbleMe

    Im considering doing an e-petition making it a requirement for capatch to be used on all UK chat services to stop fake bots. This concept of AI must be really hurting the industry with people frighted to talk in case its just silicon.

    1. OopsSorryMyBad...

      Hell, the last woman I chatted with online was mostly silicone.... Oh.. Wait... You said silicon...

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Im considering doing an e-petition making it a requirement for capatch to be used on all UK chat services to stop fake bots.

      Presuming, of course, that bots will never be trained to click on pictures of cars, road signs, and storefronts...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I be the first to point out that sarcasm is the lowest form of irony but also the funniest?

    Which in itself is ironic.

    I think I just let out a little wee.

  16. TheElder

    for elderly readers, those are the little cartoon graphics

    No shit! I have been designing icons since before the concept existed. I worked for Xerox with some of my work at PARC. Did some early programming in Smalltalk, now using Ruby which is Smalltalk on steroids. If it has anything to do with computer graphics that is me.

    As for sarcasm? What does that mean exactly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Meaning...

      "As for sarcasm? What does that mean exactly?"

      It's an "emotion."

      FTA:

      “We use millions of texts on Twitter containing emojis for training a deep learning model that understands many nuances of how language is used to express emotions,” says the project’s about page.

      Who knew sarcasm was an emotion?

      1. TheElder

        It's an "emotion."

        No shit! (bodily process failing)

        Sigh. I am currently doing Brain Mapping...

        "Who knew sarcasm was an emotion?"

        The lab I work at is very familiar with that concept.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's an "emotion."

          Well, I'll 'fess up to feeling pretty good when I compose a real zinger....

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: It's an "emotion."

          Sigh. I am currently doing Brain Mapping

          "Start at the cerebellum, go north for 50,000 neurons and then take a left. If you can see an optic nerve, you've gone waay too far."

          That sort of brain mapping?

  17. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    AI still can't understand Doug Piranha, though

    He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

    So, still work to be done.

  18. TheElder

    Time for a bit of education

    Sarcasm by the ancient Greeks:

    Sarcasm in Homer’s Odyssey

    In this passage in Iliad 16 Patroklos with false admiration appears to pay a tribute to a fallen hero, praising his agility, when in fact he has killed the man, whose subsequent acrobatic dive is in fact a lifeless tumble.

    1. Patched Out

      Re: Time for a bit of education

      So the Brits didn't invent sarcasm?

      1. TheElder

        Re: Time for a bit of education

        They may have improved it a little... Hard to tell some times. Perhaps it is the weather.

        The Weather

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kill it with fire

    I have enough trouble with bloody call handling devices already, if they start getting sarcastic I'm out of here.

    You pressed "ZERO" to speak to an operator, OH HOW LOVELY, would you care to select your MUSIC ON HOLD too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kill it with fire

      That could happen, especially with bots that lack an innate sense of self-preservation.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Kill it with fire

        And thus the 'Genuine People Personalities' were born.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure...

    Bob Dylan did not write "Hey Joe". But then I don't think Jimi Hendrix did either...

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Pretty sure...

      correct on both counts. "Hey Joe" is credited to Billy Roberts, (non-Wikisomething citation)

      Bob Dylan DID write at least one song popularized by Hendrix - "All Along The Watchtower." Dylan recorded that also but the Hendrix version is the instantly recognized classic.

  21. Fan of Mr. Obvious

    Bots training Bots

    How many of those millions of messages that the bots were watching were created by bots in the first place? I certainly hope they had a better strategy other than just looking for emojis else blind leading the blind / stupid is forever, seem to have a real shot at being ways to describe the project.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bots training Bots

      Maybe this is how an all-bot culture begins...

  22. heyrick Silver badge

    Interesting result with just one word

    "Why?"

  23. heyrick Silver badge
    WTF?

    ????

    "We are all going to die in agony in the fires of hell"

    I am shit at reading emoji but it looks like it thinks it's a song about a broken heart...possibly written by an alien (or an octopus?)...

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: ????

      "I am going to kill myself"

      Smile, wah, pistol, sweat drop, rosy cheeks.

      Uh, yeah, it's a bit shit at dealing with non sarcastic input!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    triggered

    This article triggered me. I mean my sarcasm detector. False positive, I guess.

  25. Sierpinski
    Meh

    Deadpan Emoji

    There is a difference between sarcasm and pathological lying.

    1. D@v3

      Re: Deadpan Emoji

      Yeah, sure there is

  26. mrjohn

    Sarcastic computers, that's all we need.

    "Have you tried turning me off and on again, no, didn't think so, I'll do it myself, me, brain the size of a planet ...."

  27. the Jim bloke

    But Shirley

    You just need to look for the sarcasm font..

  28. jake Silver badge

    "see also “smileys”"

    I believe the word we invented for that is actually "emoticon'. I wonder how much grant money could be had researching why, exactly, kids seem to have to keep re-inventing terminology that has been established for decades.

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the elevator ...

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: "see also “smileys”"

      I've heard SHARKS referred to as 'smileys' (you know with that big toothy grin)

      wasn't MY term. just heard it.

      and emoticons/smileys/emojis/etc. are just pure CRAP anyway. I never use them.

      [el reg icon the only exception]

  29. Paul Woodhouse

    what happens if you put:

    "this is the bollocks" instead of just "this is bollocks"???

  30. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Sarcasm detectors - Mycrotech tried that ages ago, but they never really worked that well.

  31. wayne 8

    suicidal bots

    amanfrommars would have the bot doubting itself by the end of one long sentence.

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