Collage in red, orange, and yellow with photos of Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, and smiley face emojis.

EQ: Emotional Quotient or Emoji Quotient?

Researchers at MIT’s media lab have been working night and day on a groundbreaking tool which will likely change the world. No, you silly thing, it’s not something to do with space travel, curing cancer or other similarly trivial ideas! This is something that actually matters. DeepMoji is a Twitter-based learning algorithm which is trained to learn and decipher patterns by being fed Tweets. The algorithm has learned to predict what emoji will be used to react to the post. DeepMoji researchers believe that, in this way, the algorithm will eventually learn to determine emotional content.

I’m a deeply nihilistic law student with a strong belief that dank memes are the lifeblood of our generation. Consequently, the idea of learning what ‘emotions’ are, through emojis, speaks to me on a deep level. As a soulless third year, I am only now, through the power of emojis, experiencing the full range of human emotion. So, I personally think that DeepMoji’s work will have stunningly broad application to our everyday lives. And a prime example of one of these applications is political education – a subject which can often be even more confusing than human emotions.

I submit to you, dear readers (hoping that some of you know more about computers than being ‘proficient in Microsoft Office’, as my CV reads), the following guide to emojis and political figures, to be fed, in due course, to DeepMoji:

  1.               The Ginger

Red-y or not, here she comes. The Ginger is most reminiscent of Pauline Hanson. This cheeky emoji hasn’t yet hit our phones (much like the hundreds of politically incorrect bombshells I’m sure Pauline has still to drop) but, when it does, it’s certain to make an impact! Natural redheads make up two per cent of the world’s population, and Ms Hanson is a rare breed indeed. In her maiden speech, she stated: ‘I am fed up to the back teeth with the inequalities that are being promoted by the government … under the assumption that Aboriginals are the most disadvantaged people in Australia.’ Well Pauline, there’s a reason we got some more racially diverse emojis before we got a redhead, as small a consolation as that may be to many people. If only there were a pants down emoji… In the meantime, DeepMoji will have to learn from this fiery emoticon.

  1.               Cowboy Hat

Bob Katter. The best thing about his hat is that it puts another protective layer between his terrifying mind and us. Unfortunately, his brain still remains connected to his mouth. He’s a law school drop-out – so, of course, we knew nothing good could come of him. Among his various nefarious acts, pelting the Beatles with eggs in 1964 is undoubtedly one of the worst. He’s a gun totin’, ‘dewogging’ promotin’ (yes, really, look it up) star who believes that in matters of child support there is ‘an anti-male bias’ and ‘in 90 per cent of cases the bloke has done nothing wrong [and] the woman was at fault.’ But the high(low?)light is definitely the hat.

  1.               Pregnant Lady

The pregnant woman is without a doubt Larissa Waters. The Canadian flag emoji could also work, but let’s shift away from the section 44 debacle. The first woman to breastfeed in Parliament, Larissa took a firm stance for working women. And that step was a wonderful one to support women’s rights. So yes: Let’s just remember Larissa as a mother. Don’t worry about her work as Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens. She’s a woman. So just remember her for her tits and ovaries.

  1.               Incognito

If there is anyone whom this be-trenchcoated, mysterious character represents, it’s Tony Abbott. He’s a Liberal backbencher, didn’t you know? I’m surprised you even know his name. He’s kept to his word and taken a step back to let Malcolm take pride of place. You never hear anything subversive from him. Ever. He definitely does not have a knife destined for the PM’s back hidden in the depths of his jacket.

  1.               Hand and Smartphone

He’s at Lonsdale Street Roasters. He’s at Telstra Tower with Lucy. He’s taking selfies on Sydney’s public transport. He’s a man for all seasons. He’s our Prime Minister. And how do we know all this? Because he’s kind enough to tote around his smartphone wherever he goes and update us on his daily rounds! Although I do find his frequent, #relatable posts quite reminiscent of Brian Schmidt’s blog posts, there can be no doubt that Turnbull is ‘up with the youths’ and knows how the reverse camera works. Unfortunately, it seems that this is the only hip, sick, mad aspect of Malcolm v1 (remember, the one who would cross the floor and wear leather jackets?) that remains. In fact, I’m starting to think the phone is a horcrux of the old Malcolm…

  1.               Mona Lisa

Whether you think she’s a real piece of work or a work of art, there is no doubt that Julie Bishop is something. And, as with da Vinci’s masterpiece, she’s worth getting a selfie with if you have the opportunity. She’s known for her love of Armani, so she at least wears Italian clothes, as Mona certainly did. If that’s not enough to convince you that this is Bishop’s spirit-emoji, with an aloof smile, Jules will keep you guessing, and you’ll never know what she’s thinking. A useful attribute for a diplomat. Finally, in response to Donald Trump’s commentary on Bridgette Macron’s figure, our Deputy PM commented, ‘It’s a rather interesting comment to make. I wonder if she could say the same of him?’ With all the focus on her womanly wiles, I think Mona would have been all about sisterhood; she and Julie would probably have some good bants about our favourite orange overlord.

In a time of increasing automation and the rise of emotionally intelligent AI, it is time that we finally catch up to this miraculous algorithm and gain a bit of EQ. We are facing a real EQ emoj-ency (even more pressing than the section 44 troubles facing out illustrious leaders). So, my dear reader, turn on your phone and scroll through some emojis and learn some emojinal intelligence.

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