What is Natural Language Processing in AI?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the technology used to allow computers to understand natural human language and then to respond appropriately in a two-way conversation. 

NLP is used extensively in powering AI chatbots such as in conversational AI applications. 

NLP works with Natual Language Understanding (NLU) and Natural Language Generation (NLG) to engage in meaningful conversations with people via text or voice. 

NLU analyses unstructured text and transforms it into computer code. It is used to interpret what a person is trying to say - the intent and meaning in a text – which is understood within each specific context.   

NLG is how the computer generates meaningful responses based on its understanding of what the person is communicating. 

NLP uses the following to understand a person and then respond. 

  • Tokenisation: Breaking up a sentence into individual words or phrases.  
  • Parsing and part of speech tagging: Understanding the role of each word in the sentence. For example, subjects, verbs, etc.  
  • Intent Recognition: Recognising what a person wants to communicate or wants the program to do. 
  • Named Entity Recognition: Identifying and storing entities like dates, post codes, amounts, etc. from within a longer text.  
  • Sentiment Analysis: Picking up on the sentiment expressed by a person in their texts/speech. 


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