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How One Company Is Using A.I. to Predict Panic Over Covid-19

From empty grocery store shelves to empty city streets, there are many visible signs of increased anxiety over the coronavirus crisis. But how much is this concern really permeating people's lives?

Dayton, Ohio-based behavioral analytics company Cognovi Labs has found a way to measure people's emotional response toward Covid-19--in real time--with its Coronavirus Panic Index.

The index combines technology--developed at the Wright State University KNO.E.SIS Innovation Center in Dayton, Ohio--with behavioral psychology to analyze conversations across social platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and blogs. The text, and its context, are categorized into emotions (joy, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise) using machine learning. Then it's all translated into behavioral signals, which are calibrated on a scale of zero to 100--zero being "at home emotionally" and 100 being somewhere near "nervous breakdown." The points are then plotted on a map.

"It's not just what people say or how they talk, it's the emotional sentiment behind that," says Ben-Ami Gradwohl, co-founder and CEO of Cognovi Labs.


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