Natural language processing (NLP) is the technology that enables a computer to translate human-speak into a language it recognises. NLP is a subset of artificial intelligence. Chatbots use natural language processing to understand human input and respond accordingly.Talk to our experts
The technology traces its roots back to the 1950s, with Alan Turing's famous 'Computing Machinery and Intelligence' article. Today, NLP is everywhere. You most likely have been using it without realising.
NLP can be found in your Alexa or Siri's speech recognition, the auto-generated search recommendations you spot on Google, and word-generation and spell checking in that news article you just read. Of course, chatbots make great use of this technology, too.
If natural language processing is the building of computer logic and programs based on human-language, then natural language understanding (NLU) is all about enabling a computer to comprehend what the human input means. It's a subtopic of natural language processing, much narrower in purpose. Rarely, if ever, does natural language processing not need any prior understanding.
Imagine natural language understanding as the work-horse; it's doing the stuff in the background for the computer to communicate with you effectively. We use this technology for text categorisation, understanding millions of news articles, rerouting emails or even comprehending what options a new vehicle is sold with.
Helps a computer understand what a user needs; it's about the computer predicting the outcome of a human's behaviour.
Helps a computer recognise essential bits of what a human says; it's about the computer spotting things like dates, locations and people.
Helps a computer recognise opinion or emotion in what a human says; it's about a computer reacting appropriately to human input.
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