2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Putting a Real-Time Face on Polling

Written by Megan Simpson | March 6, 2014

Philip Resnick talks biometric and facial emotion at SXSW 2014

Philip Resnik has many thoughts to share about his panel at SXSW Interactive, “Putting a Real-Time Face on Polling". A professor from the University of Maryland, Resnick does research in computational linguistics, with interests both in the application of natural language processing techniques to practical problems such as machine translation and sentiment analysis, and in the modeling of human linguistic processes (especially related to lexical semantics).

SXSW: Tell us more about your SXSW Interactive session.
Resnik: If you want to know how people feel about something, just give them a questionnaire, right? Nope. This panel is about tapping into people's thoughts, feelings, and opinions more directly, in real time: biometric and facial emotion detection, real-time polling on mobile devices, and sentiment analysis, enabling novel online interactive digital experiences and volumes of new data to mine for better understanding of how people make decisions.

SXSW: Have you discussed this topic at any previous events? What was the reaction like?
Resnik: I've spoken a number of times on this topic, including a keynote talk at the American Association of Applied Linguistics in March 2012, a guest spot at the Kojo Nnamdi's Tech Tuesday in October 2012 (NPR, Washington DC), and a presentation at the Sentiment Analysis Symposium in NYC in May 2013. It's been great getting audiences really engaged and getting their reactions by, well, giving a talk about really engaging audiences and getting their reactions!

SXSW: Who else is joining you as a speaker for this session?
Resnik: The other speakers in this panel are, quite simply, the cream of the crop when it comes to the new science and technology of capturing people's real-time opinions and reactions. Rana el Kaliouby is a brilliant researcher and entrepreneur who invented Affectiva's technology for facial emotion recognition; she received one of MIT Technology Review's 2012 "Top 35 Innovators Under 35" awards and is a member of the IEEE Women in Engineering Hall of Fame. Martin Salo was a precocious young technologist and entrepreneur and developed the Realeyes emotion measurement platform into a worldwide product. Gary Kazantsev runs Bloomberg's R&D group in machine learning and specializes in high performance applications in the financial domain, dealing with data in real-time at enormous scale.

SXSW: Who do you see this session being for? Who will benefit the most from attending?
Resnik: This session will appeal to people who recognize that a new future is emerging in gathering data on reactions and opinions - that means people interested in marketing and market research, video virality, politics and public opinion, to name just a few.

SXSW: Why should registrants attend?
Resnik: The topic of this session is awesome. The panelists in this session are awesome. The technology they're talking about, the problems they're solving, the advances they've achieved, are all awesome.

SXSW: Have you been to SXSW before? When? What was your experience like?
Resnik: I've been to SXSW Interactive twice before, both times getting to be a presenter as well as getting to hear lots of great presentations and meet tremendously cool people. I submitted a panel this year not just because I thought this group of people would have something to say, but because I get a tremendous amount out of being there - there's an energy that just can't be beat. Oh, and Austin is fantastic.

SXSW: Speaking of getting a tremendous amount out of being in Austin, can you tell us your best or favorite strategy for networking and making new connections at SXSW?
Resnik: Chutzpah. Ask good questions, speak your mind and never be afraid to walk up to someone and start a conversation.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend, “Putting a Real-Time Face on Polling” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.