If you loved reading Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books as a kid but have outgrown their puerile plots and dog-eared, unrepentantly analog format, take heart: A newly launched system called Myndplay is a next-gen video version of the genre for adults. “The viewer chooses who lives or dies, whether the good guy or the bad guy wins or whether the hero makes that all-important save,” Mohammed Azam, Myndplay’s managing director, told New Scientist. Instead of relying on old-fashioned reading, MyndPlay lets you guide the story using mind-reading, via a special headset that records and analyzes your brainwaves. Now you can sit back in your armchair, slap on the headset, and use your mind to direct the action on the screen in front of you. (No word yet if there’s a mind-powered equivalent of keeping a finger on the page you came from, so you can flip back to it if you don’t like how things turn out.)
Not surprisingly, the latest big trend in communication (social media) has spawned the latest big trend in market research: sentiment analysis, the art/science of using Internet and social media chatter to gauge public feeling about a company.
Consultants like Newssift, ScoutLabs, and Jodange use complex algorithms to scan keywords in remarks about corporations made on Twitter and Facebook, then categorize them as positive or negative via filters—the companies say they can even parse sarcasm, slang, and other linguistic nuances. Filters can sift through levels of positivity/negativity, intensity. Some can also identify more influential opinions from those social-media hubs and tastemakers. As the tech becomes increasingly sophisticated, it may become more prevalent in standard search engines or predict future developments like stock price fluctuations.
Companies are interested in measure online opinion, of course, because the perception of the company or its products can have a strong effect on its chances for success. They’ve also used the approach to sort out technical or customer service glitches.
—Guest-blogger Susan Karlin