For this symposium on May 12, I began by talking a little bit about how minor variations in language can index not only regional differences between speakers, but also other social, political, and ideological differences. We briefly discussed results from a paper titled “Indexing Political Persuasion: Variation in the Iraq Vowels” (Hall-Lew et al., 2010). Computer science can provide tools to investigate the connection between language, society, and politics. Specifically, I'm interested in using AI techniques to look at how controversial topics are framed (represented in order to promote a particular perspective) in online discussions, and how these framings might shift over time. During the symposium, we opened up the discussion to talk more widely about what role, if any, computer science should play in social science research. We also discussed the broader implications of computational social science research in academia and in society.
written by Julia Mendelsohn