FROM TONIGHT, the London Eye will turn yellow if people are happy with the Olympics and purple if they are fed up, thanks to a ‘sentiment analysis’ programme that uses Twitter comments as its guide.
“The algorithm we developed converts real-time social emotions into colour and then Tweets to the light show,” Justin Manor of Sosolimited, the company behind the technology, told the Telegraph.
“We distil 24 hours of action into a 24 minute visual concert that embodies the emotional peaks and troughs of the day,” explains Justin Manor, the founder of Sosolimited.
The first outing for the Eye’s Olympic light show – dubbed Energy of the Nation – takes place tonight, starting at 9pm, and continues until the end of the Paralympics on 9 September. So far, Olympic Twitter talk has been mostly positive, so we can expect a yellow-tinged Eye. As well as purple for negative, the big wheel on the South Bank will also glow green if sentiment is neutral.
For the future, sentiment analysis is expected to be included in everyday PCs.
“Through sentiment analysis, if a computer detected that person using it was angry, it could play some happy music to cheer them up,” said Mike Thelwall, one of the social media analysts involved in the London Eye project.
“Or if someone was struggling to understand some instructions online, a computer could autonomously provide an easier set,”
It’s not the first time the London Eye has changed colour, back in 2007 the giant wheel turned blue for Christmas. While its nearby neighbour, The Shard, earlier this month treated hundreds of thousands of Londoners to a multi-coloured laser show to celebrate its opening.