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What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?

By   /  September 6, 2017  /  No Comments

Natural Language Processing (NLP) describes a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that automates language recognition and generation so that computers and humans can communicate seamlessly. To interact with humans, computers must be adept at and understand syntax (grammar), semantics (word meaning), morphology (tense), and pragmatics (conversation). These tasks have proven quite complex.

Natural language processing encompasses Machine Learning tactics needed to process intricate transactions, including, among others, the following:

Using Machine Learning tactics, computers get NLP through Natural Language Understanding (the ability to understand inputs) and Natural Language Generation (the ability to formulate an appropriative narrative). As such, NLP includes not only speech recognition and generation, but also textual data.

Some Good Use Cases for NLP Include:

  • Extracting data from complicated data sources
  • Answering queries phrased in natural language
  • Detecting phishing
  • Making secure financial transactions
  • Handling insurance transactions
  • Assisting communication with/from those with disabilities

Other Definitions of NLP Include:

  • “A branch of Artificial Intelligence” that extracts “interesting patterns in textual data, using a unique set of techniques.” (Charles Roe, DATAVERSITY®)
  • “A form of Artificial Intelligence” that “helps machines understand, and even communicate with, human speech.” (Terence Mills, Forbes)
  • A type of technology that “combines Artificial Intelligence and computational linguistics so that computers and humans can talk seamlessly.” (Michelle Knight, DATAVERSITY®)
  • “A branch of AI that enables computers to understand, process, and generate language just as people do.” (Terena Bell, CIO).
  • A technology that “involves the ability to turn text or audio speech into encoded, structured information, based on an appropriate ontology.” (Gartner IT Glossary)

Businesses Use NLP to:

Photo credit: raindrop74/Shutterstock

About the author

Michelle Knight enjoys putting her information specialist background to use by writing technical articles on enhancing Data Quality, lending to useful information. Michelle has written articles on W3C validator for SiteProNews, SEO competitive analysis for the SLA (Special Libraries Association), Search Engine alternatives to Google, for the Business Information Alert, and Introductions on the Semantic Web, HTML 5, and Agile, Seabourne INC LLC, through AboutUs.com. She has worked as a software tester, a researcher, and a librarian. She has over five years of experience, contracting as a quality assurance engineer at a variety of organizations including Intel, Cigna, and Umpqua Bank. During that time Michelle used HTML, XML, and SQL to verify software behavior through databases Michelle graduated, from Simmons College, with a Masters in Library and Information with an Outstanding Information Science Student Award from the ASIST (The American Society for Information Science and Technology) and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Smith College. Michelle has a talent for digging into data, a natural eye for detail, and an abounding curiosity about finding and using data effectively.

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