A collection of linguists, data scientists, computer researchers, and emoji enthusiasts gathered at Stanford University this week for the International Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media. They brought with them research on how emoji are changing the way we communicate online, how gender and political affiliation are reproduced online through emoji, and the challenges emoji pose for natural-language processing in computers. The assembled academics also debated basic questions about the nature of emoji: Like, if emoji is something akin to a language, why can't anyone agree on what individual emoji mean?
The day-long event included a series of paper presentations that privileged data sets and citations over emoji-shaped balloons, and asked more questions than it could answer.
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