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What is NLP – Natural language processing?

May 1st, 2018
What is NLP
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Required reading: 2 minutes

The acronym NLP stands for the technical term "natural language processing", which means "machine processing of natural language". Computers learn to understand and process the spoken and written word. NLP is used, for example, in machine translation or voice search. Currently, the most important technical challenge is to enable meaningful dialogue between man and machine.

The initial combination of language and Artificial intelligence Goes back to Alan Turing . Already in 1950, the mathematician and computer scientist developed an idea of how people and computers can communicate with each other. He designed a question-and-answer concept that would deceive the human test person about the inhumanity of the other. Turing's test was not implemented until 1966, long after his death.

Areas of application of natural language processing

Today, machines can recognize the syntax of a set with 90% security and translate it into another language, for example. Answering complex questions in milliseconds, Intelligent language Assistants like Alexa Communicate with us, interpret the mood of an author and create texts independently. The latter is called the "natural Language generation" (natural text/Sprachgenerierung, Note. D. Red.Called.

As is customary in machine learning, data is the lifeblood of NLP. Departments that have a lot to do with language and content (= data) are therefore popular areas of application. Companies include:

  1. Customer service:The customer's mood on the phone is automatically analyzed. Based on that, he is assigned a relaxed employee.
  2. Localization of content:A newly created text is automatically translated into three other languages by a translation system.
  3. Public relations:Externally published texts containing the company name are automatically detected, scanned and analyzed for your mood.
  4. Compliance Management:In order to ensure compliance with standards and regulations, new contract documents are automatically scanned and compared with legal texts.

NLP to try Out

IBM is on the page Www.natural-language-understanding-demo.ng.bluemix.net A free demonstration of machine language comprehension available. Users can enter a text or URL and receive an analysis of the content immediately. These include the basic mood (positive/negative), the occurrence of emotions (anger, joy, etc.), frequently mentioned key words or structural information. For my article, the basic mood is rated as "neutral", for example. Unfortunately, the analysis result is only available in English.

Technical challenges for NLP

Machine processing of natural language is at its limits when it comes to ambiguities or correct conclusions . A person understands through the context what a word means. So the word "dandruff" can refer to either a gazebo, a fish or a skin disease. Computers still have difficulty recognizing the relevant meaning. A suitable recommendation for action is also a hurdle where machines often fail

My conclusion:Natural language processing is a fascinating area of AI and machine learning. It is astonishing how far the machine speech recognition and processing has developed since the 1950s and with which of course we now use it.

Cover picture: Photo by Юлия Абрамова, EyeEm

Sources: With Sloan & with CSAIL Artificial intelligence: Implications for Business strategy program

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