Computer Algorithm Can Spot a Drunken Tweeter

(Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock) Drunk tweets, long considered an unfortunate, yet ubiquitous, byproduct of the social media age, have finally been put to good use. With the help of a machine-learning algorithm, researchers from the University of Rochester cross-referenced tweets mentioning alcohol consumption with geo-tagging information to broadly analyze human drinking behavior. They were able to estimate where and when people imbibed, and, to a limited extent, how they behaved under the influence. The experiment is more than a social critique — the algorithm helps researchers spot drinking patterns that could inform public health decisions, and could be applied to a range of other human behaviors. #Drunk Tweeting To begin with, the researchers sorted through a selection of tweets from both New York City and rural New York with the help of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Users identified tweets related to…


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