Are you drinking while tweeting? This algorithm can tell

Using machine learning, it can also figure out where you're imbibing

Tweeting under the influence may not get you in as much trouble as drunk driving does, but it can still mean a whole lot of hot water. Now there's an algorithm that can tell when you're drinking while tweeting -- and also figure out where you're imbibing.

Using machine learning, researchers at the University of Rochester have created a system that can find alcohol-related tweets and determine whether they were made by someone who was actually drinking at the time. It can also pick out whether those tweeters were drinking at home or somewhere else.

Equipped with that knowledge, the researchers compared the results for different locations in New York State. Eventually, they hope to use the technology to study the health implications of alcohol.

So, how did they do it?

The researchers began by collecting geotagged tweets sent over 12 months up to July 2014 from New York City and nearby suburban and rural areas. Then they zeroed in on those that included alcohol-related words, such as "drunk" or "beer," and put the Mechanical Turk crowds to work to help confirm the context.

Specifically, Mechanical Turk workers read the tweets to confirm not only that the tweeter was talking about using alcohol personally, but also that he or she was consuming it while tweeting. 

To figure out the settings from which the tweeters sent their tweets, the researchers focused on words and phrases that people tend to use in tweets sent from their homes, such as "bath" or "sofa," and confirmed the geolocated results once again via Mechanical Turk.

They used all that information to train a machine-learning algorithm, which they hope to use to better understand alcohol consumption patterns and how they vary with location and other factors. That data could help them do things like relate the number of places to buy alcohol in a region to the amount of home drinking that takes place there.

A paper describing the work will be presented at the International Conference on Web and Social Media in May.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?