Cities Get Proactive About Citizen Gripes

Ever wish it didn't take 4 calls, 2 letters, and 1 community meeting to get a pothole fixed in your city? A new software developed by IBM would allow cities to mine social media to get a picture of public sentiment, long before you dial 3-1-1.

Pothole detecting apps are so yesterday. IBM's software, which was developed as part of its Smarter Cities program and has already been tested in India, is based on the emerging field of social sentiment analysis, explains Emily Badger. Apparently, IBM, "is now marketing software to municipalities that claims it can determine aggregated public opinion – positive, neutral and negative – in the millions of data points that make up our social media ramblings."

"If the thought bothers you of a government-deployed algorithm listening in on your public expression," writes Badger, "maybe you don't want to complain about potholes on Twitter after all. These sentiment analysis tools work precisely because we've made so many of our private thoughts publicly available in cyber space. From a city's perspective, the Internet is the new town hall."

Full Story: The Internet Is the New Town Hall and Soon Cities Will Be Listening

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