Knowledge that Everyone Knows. "People do not walk on their heads." The assertion comes about 900 statements deep into the 527,308 items that comprise the Open Mind common sense database. It's after "Laws are the rules of society" and before "The sky is blue during the day." This collection of mundane facts, which would take more than 20,000 pages to print out, consists entirely of statements so unremarkable they are barely worth stating. Most of us would correctly dismiss them as common sense.
– from D.C. Denison, Guess who's smarter. Boston Globe Online (page hosted at MIT), May 26, 2003.
We present an approach for cyberbullying detection based on state-of-the-art text classification and a common sense knowledge base, which permits recognition over a broad spectrum of topics in everyday life. We analyze a more narrow range of particular subject matter associated with bullying and construct BullySpace, a common sense knowledge base that encodes particular knowledge about bullying situations. We then perform joint reasoning with common sense knowledge about a wide range of everyday life topics. We analyze messages using our novel AnalogySpace common sense reasoning technique. We also take into account social network analysis and other factors. We evaluate the model on real-world instances that have been reported by users on Form spring, a social networking website that is popular with teenagers. On the intervention side, we explore a set of reflective user interaction paradigms with the goal of promoting empathy among social network participants. We propose an air traffic control-like dashboard, which alerts moderators to large-scale outbreaks that appear to be escalating or spreading and helps them prioritize the current deluge of user complaints. For potential victims, we provide educational material that informs them about how to cope with the situation, and connects them with emotional support from others. A user evaluation shows that in context, targeted, and dynamic help during cyberbullying situations fosters end-user reflection that promotes better coping strategies.
A long-standing dream of artificial intelligence has been to put commonsense knowledge into computers -- enabling machines to reason about everyday life. However, it is widely assumed that the use of common sense in interactive applications will remain impractical for years, until these collections can be considered sufficiently complete and commonsense reasoning sufficiently robust. Recently, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Laboratory, we have had some success in applying commonsense knowledge in a number of intelligent interface agents, despite the admittedly spotty coverage and unreliable inference of today's commonsense knowledge systems.