Natural Language Processing for Human-to-Machine Interaction

How important is it for companies to take advantage of natural language?


Everyday around two million blog posts are written, enough information to fill Time magazine for 770 years. Of course, not many of those two million posts would be good enough to make it into Time, but each and every one is packed with information, opinions and insights from often influential consumers who start conversations within their communities.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the procedure by which natural language, that is human generated speech not that of mathematical or computer based languages like Java, are analysed. One of the most common examples of this is spam detection, where emails go through a process to make an assessment as to whether the email is spam or not spam.

NLP is about making computers understand how humans speak and communicate with each other online. We talk to each other in a number of different ways, whether it's through different grammatical structures or the regional idioms we use, so it's essential that NLP is in place so that this gap in communication can be bridged.

Most NLP techniques are based on Machine Learning, where artificial intelligence draws conclusions within data that allow patterns to be detected within natural language. Through this, tasks including speech recognition and sentiment analysis can be carried out by machines, providing a platform for companies looking to act upon these insights.

NLP has already picked up considerable steam over the past couple of years and its future importance can only be predicted. Even in its most basic form, seen in systems like automated online customer assistants and spam detectors, it's having an effect on the way consumers are interacting with organisations.

The future of NLP however is dependant on the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). If NLP is going to work at its maximum potential, computers will have to be as intelligent as people or at least the same as AGI. Therefore, it's clear that the future of NLP is intertwined with AI, but with Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot, stating that we'll achieve full artificial intelligence in the next couple of decades, there's an excellent chance that the development of NLP will advance quickly. 


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