Early warning signals of abrupt changes in social opinion by mining online discussion forums
Pong, Jonathan Weijie
Date of Issue2018
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
The ability to conduct Social sensing to measure dissent in a democratic country is important as it allows governments to improve in areas they are currently lacking. In this paper, we study the theory of critical transitions and its application to major events in sociopolitical systems (such as elections). By considering a specific social opinion as a phase in a sociopolitical system and a differing opinion as another phase, then the change of one opinion to another is a critical transition. Therefore, we can use the precursory critical slowing down as an early warning signal to an abrupt change in social opinion. To detect the transition and its associated critical slowing down, we mine online discussion forums as a proxy to the sociopolitical system as a whole. In this thesis, we prove the existence of critical slowing down and critical transitions within online discussion forums. Consequently, highlighting the ability to conduct Social sensing via detecting these critical slowing downs.
Final Year Project (FYP)