WASHINGTON – According to Nextgov, the Secret Service—the federal agency responsible for protecting the president and other high-ranking government officials—is looking to acquire software that can, among other things, detect sarcasm in statements made online. Some Americans say they are “creeped out” by the program, but most admit to being “totally stoked” about it, and are thanking the Secret Service for “putting semi-sentient computers to good and completely trustworthy use.”
“Who wouldn’t want the Secret Service monitoring all their online writings and using sophisticated software to suss out the emotional intent of their words?” said Graham Liszt of Reading, Pennsylvania. “I love being judged by computers and spied on by men with guns. It’s one of my favorite freaking hobbies.”
The program, which is documented in a work order obtained by Nextgov on Monday, hopes to use sarcasm detection to separate legitimate threats made online from “bad jokes.” The software will also “synthesize large sets of social media data… identify statistical pattern analysis,” and provide the agency with “access to historical Twitter data.”
Twitter users say they “can’t wait to have a new and attentive audience” for their tweets.
“The NSA recording all of my phone calls, texts and emails was just awesome,” said Twitter enthusiast Tracy Earhart. “But I always worried they were misinterpreting me, so I’m so pumped that a government agency cares enough to take my intentions into account when they’re prying into places they don’t belong. Thanks, Secret Service—thanks, so much.”
Some high-ranking officials doubt that the software will be effective, however, and worry that it will end up categorizing some legitimate threats as “false positives.”
“Have you ever hung out with a Secret Service agent?” said a White House official who requested anonymity. “They’re a bunch of regular Jerry Seinfelds, let me tell you. Wonderful senses of humor. I’m sure software developed by those guys will be just great at recognizing sarcasm.”