Everything You Need to Know About Text Mining

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Text mining is widely recognized by companies as one of the major tools that are provided by A.I. technology to extract valuable ‘structured” data from text and help businesses filter through and condense valuable project-oriented information. If this sounds a little too ‘sci-fi” for you, that is exactly the point. Its capacity to recognize and respond to human speech and mimic the neural pathway activities of the human brain to develop independent cognitive abilities and behavioural responses is only the beginning, especially as more technological advancements are introduced into the field and artificial intelligence software are gaining higher momentum and demand among multiple industries with connections to the IT/Computer/Mobile industry—from the transport, banking, social services, government, and medical sectors among many more. While the first attempts to develop intelligent thinking machines can be traced historically to Raymond Lull in the 14th Century—and “automatons” are present in the ancient mythology of Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian/Mesopotamian literature—text mining goes back to the WWII era, when governments started adopting “content analysis” and assigning numerical codes to public concepts and ideas that were found in the media, including newspapers, magazines, letters, documents…etc. with the objective of analyzing and monitoring trends in mass-behaviour by tracking the levels of popularity and development of those concepts/ideas. This practice has also developed into another branch known as open source intelligence, used by governments and the intelligence communities to sift through all the pertinent information that is available on the World Wide Web for reasons of national security and especially in response to the current major crises facing the modern world. Unfortunately for the general public, it is also something that has led to the infringement of personal security and civil rights as demonstrated by its current use as a global spy network set up by agencies like the NSA and the CIA.

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A.I.’s ability to extract concepts out of written language text through text analytics by analyzing and processing all the data present on the world wide web—including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, as well as independent professional blogs and websites—has enriched a company’s potential to accelerate decision and policy-making, while restructuring also its internal organization, reducing budget costs by saving time and being able to respond faster or anticipate any internal or external crises (such as changes in consumer trends or demand, or meeting important deadlines for a business venture). Even more importantly, it enhances customer engagement by delivering a unique experience that is able to identify and predict their tastes and cater to them individually and accordingly.

Its value for the general public is particularly evident in its applications in the medical industry, where A.I. will be able to monitor a person’s health and predict a heart attack days or even years before it occurs and respond appropriately by administering therapeutic treatment on the spot. The main difference compared to modern day search engines is that text mining can help a business or an individual find a solution for a need they did not even know existed! It can therefore help you find innovative sources that provide the answer to your problem before you even know a problem exists, and that, once again, is science fiction in the making! Integrated A.I. assistants deployed through a user interface on all your media devices including portable smartphones and tablets, and Robot receptionists/waiters are a perfect example of what we can expect in years to come. Sentiment Analysis, also referred to as “Opinion Mining”, for example, is another process whereby A.I. is able to analyze, extract and understand the emotional response of the subject in a context. In other words A.I. is truly the realization of our collective sci-fi archetypal imagery, as any fan of Star Trek would surely know!

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