About Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing or NLP is a domain of artificial intelligence that deals with the understanding and interpretation of languages spoken by humans. There are many ways through which humans communicate with each other and those include signs, symbols, signals, languages, pictorial representations, emotions, facial expressions etc. And then they also use a combination of all these attributes in multiple ways to communicate, which makes it all the more complicated for machines to understand the human way of communication.
If we talk about scripts and languages, there are hundreds and thousands of languages with each one of them having different accents and multiple dialects, due to which it becomes a complex process for machines to understand and interpret the natural language.
The field of NLP has got a push from the technological advancements and the growing capabilities of computer machines to handle huge amount of data with enormous processing speed. The increasing penetration of highspeed internet has made it possible to transfer the data on a real time basis.
NLP use various advanced machine learning and deep learning algorithms to convert human language into machine language.
Speech recognition is a tough task, as the voice signals are analog and unstructured in nature which are not understood by machines. Voice signal are captured through microphones and then those signals are converted into digital signals and further into structured data with the help of computer programs, which are understood by the machines. Then based on regular feeding of such data and pattern understanding, the machine learning program evolve itself to understand the natural languages spoken in a particular accent.
For processing of natural language, NLTK or Natural language toolkit is most used set of programs and libraries which was developed in University of Pennsylvania by computer scientists, Steve Bird and Edward Loper.
Applications of NLP
Many organizations have started using NLP programs in their IVR or interactive voice response system, to resolve the queries of their customers. IVR system have now evolved from giving preloaded generic answers to handling dynamic customer queries, real time responses and even taking bookings of orders.
Amazon’s Alexa, Google Voice and Apple’s Siri are fine example of most advanced and evolving NLP programs. They have also started to understand various types of dialects and accents with the help of continuous corrections and learnings. Now you can also control the connected devices in homes through your voice command.
Another application which is trending now a days is smart TV and OTT devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast, which play content by taking voice command through their remote controls.