AI platform steps into opinion role

Local | Leung Pak-hei 27 Sep 2021

The lives of public relations workers may become easier as the painful task of monitoring public opinion for marketing and crises management can be passed to artificial intelligence.

A social media service agency said the new AI platform can analyze opinions on social media so companies can grasp people's views more easily and tackle potential crises faster.

Alex Lo King-yip, cofounder of agency Jervois M, says that many companies wish to monitor the news and opinions online and take action as the reaction is more instant.

His new social media monitoring platform took about two years to develop and involved a cost of about HK$4 million.

"Our platform is operated by 10 to 20 people, with six to seven of them being responsible for training the AI and the others responsible for programming," he said.

Lo said the platform can analyze data and notify its clients faster than competitors.

"Our platform can complete the analysis and notification process in 15 minutes, while most other monitoring tools need to take one to two hours," he said.

Lo also said the platform provides greater coverage as it can look through content on more social media platforms, including Telegram. His system can analyze Cantonese, while most other foreign-made monitoring tools only understand English.

The platform's AI can analyze the sentiment of online opinion and determine whether it carries positive, neutral or negative feelings.

"While other monitoring tools can only interpret specific words or phrases, our AI can analyze full sentences and provide a more accurate analysis of the opinion's sentiment."

He said the platform could correctly deduce the sentiment of a sentence or post even when it involved sarcasm. Technicians will teach the AI new phrases everyday to improve the accuracy of the platform's analytical results.

"The accuracy of the AI can be increased from about 60 percent to around 70 to 80 percent after three to six months of training."

Lo said his colleagues will form a WhatsApp group with the AI and clients. When the AI detects negative news and opinion about the clients, it will alert them on WhatsApp, allowing them to take action.

The AI platform has been used by a supermarket to understand the strengths and weaknesses of its main competitors.

Lo said his team would further develop the AI platform so it could offer automatic comparison between its clients and other companies, as well as being able to conduct analyses without relying on keywords next month.

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