Political Futures Tracker

Political Futures Tracker.

From the webpage:

The Political Futures Tracker tells us the top political themes, how positive or negative people feel about them, and how far parties and politicians are looking to the future.

This software will use ground breaking language analysis methods to examine data from Twitter, party websites and speeches. We will also be conducting live analysis on the TV debates running over the next month, seeing how the public respond to what politicians are saying in real time. Leading up to the 2015 UK General Election we will be looking across the political spectrum for emerging trends and innovation insights.

If that sounds interesting, consider the following from: Introducing… the Political Futures Tracker:

We are exploring new ways to analyse a large amount of data from various sources. It is expected that both the amount of data and the speed that it is produced will increase dramatically the closer we get to election date. Using a semi-automatic approach, text analytics technology will sift through content and extract the relevant information. This will then be examined and analysed by the team at Nesta to enable delivery of key insights into hotly debated issues and the polarisation of political opinion around them.

The team at the University of Sheffield has extensive experience in the area of social media analytics and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Technical implementation has started already, firstly with data collection which includes following the Twitter accounts of existing MPs and political parties. Once party candidate lists become available, data harvesting will be expanded accordingly.

In parallel, we are customising the University of Sheffield’s General Architecture for Text Engineering (GATE); an open source text analytics tool, in order to identify sentiment-bearing and future thinking tweets, as well as key target topics within these.

One thing we’re particularly interested in is future thinking. We describe this as making statements concerning events or issues in the future. Given these measures and the views expressed by a certain person, we can model how forward thinking that person is in general, and on particular issues, also comparing this with other people. Sentiment, topics, and opinions will then be aggregated and tracked over time.

Personally I suspect that “future thinking” is used in difference senses by the general population and political candidates. For a political candidate, however the rhetoric is worded, the “future” consists of reaching election day with 50% plus 1 vote. For the general population, the “future” probably includes a longer time span.

I mention this in case you can sell someone on the notion that what political candidates say today has some relevance to what they will do after election. President Obmana has been in office for six (6) years on office, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp remains open, no one has been held accountable for years of illegal spying on U.S. citizens, banks and other corporate interests have all but been granted keys to the U.S. Treasury, to name a few items inconsistent with his previous “future thinking.”

Unless you accept my suggestion that “future thinking” for a politician means election day and no further.

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