How are you feeling today?
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a technology used to help create interactions between computers and humans while filling the gap between human communication and computer understanding. This is a topic that I find to be super fascinating as it has many different types and practical uses that we are all familiar with and use on a daily basis. Aside from the obvious Alexa, Siri, and Bixby virtual assistants; one simple example is the predictive text function on your smart phone.
One type of NLP that I find particularly captivating is sentiment analysis. This technology enables the identification of the mood or subjective opinions within large amounts of text. I am also very intrigued at how the interpretation of different dialects of speech are recognized by these technologies. This is studied in a subfield of NLP called natural language understanding (NLU), which works towards resolving context and word ambiguity.
Other types of NLP technologies that have been around for a bit and I personally use often are Optical Character Recognition and Text Analytics. With these are technologies I can convert written or printed text (such as a PDF document) into textual data and then count, group, and/or categorize words in order to extract meaning and provide insights.
The overarching goal of NLP is to take raw language and use linguistics and algorithms to transform or enrich the text in such a way that it delivers greater value. While NLP is not new, the technology is rapidly advancing and has been successfully utilized by many, including travelers. One day soon, I hope to put on my traveling hat and use Google’s multilingual machine-translation service (I’m thinking about visiting Thailand…).
By: Monica Kay Royal