Columbia U uses AI to analyze language around vaccine reluctancy, craft targeted message campaigns

New York City-based Columbia University researchers are using artificial intelligence technologies to analyze the language used by different groups of people in the U.S. who are vaccine reluctant, according to an April 8 Columbia News report.

The team will split the project into three parts: the first involves monitoring online conversations about vaccines from multiple social media sites including Facebook, Reddit and YouTube. From there, the researchers will analyze the language that people use around vaccination and then take those insights to help craft public messaging campaigns.

"We're struck by the fact that a lot of people think they know why everybody's vaccine hesitant. But there hasn't been a lot of actual data collected on this and sometimes I think data are thought of purely in numerical terms, but we treat language itself as data that we can analyze, interpret, count and calculate," said Rishi Goyal, MD, PhD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

The researchers are currently working with the health department in Ulster County, N.Y., and Maine's state CDC to craft pro-vaccine messaging. The team also plans to use automated message generation to create pro-vaccine messages that reflect the language of vaccine hesitancy and address individuals' concerns.


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