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Language technology sheds new light on social debates

Every day, new blogs and websites spring up, while debates in society flare-up or fizzle out. Controversial and fake news abounds. How do information, knowledge and opinions actually develop?

Piek Vossen, professor of Computational Lexicology, studies the understanding of language by machines. 

We humans talk about everything, telling our story first in one way and then in another way. Why do we do that? Which particular situations lead to which specific result?

Look at a social debate, or the way in which different target groups consume information, interpret it and take action based on it. Interpersonal communication is endlessly fascinating.

If you use a computer to interpret all available opinions, knowledge and information, you get a more complete perspective that is less swayed by the view or interpretation of one particular source. In this way, the machine provides a more well-rounded, transparent perspective of knowledge, information and opinions. This is known as the ‘perspective web’.

In two research projects, NewsReader and Understanding Language by Machines, Piek Vossen and his team are currently collecting information about vaccinations and side effects.

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