Spoken language, or voice, is fast becoming the main focus for research into how we interact with our tech. Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding, usually shortened as NLP/NLU, is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the interaction between computers and humans using natural language.
A typical human-computer interaction based on NLP might go as follows:
1. The human says something to the computer
2. The computer captures the audio
3. The captured audio is converted to text
4. The text’s data is processed
5. The processed data is converted to audio
6. The computer plays an audio file in response to the human
Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri use NLP to understand our voice requests. The ultimate aim here is for AI to understand language as successfully as humans do – not just the words but also the context-based meaning of them. Most NLP techniques also rely on machine learning to derive meaning from human languages, even adopting, and mirroring, users’ speech patterns, use of slang, and accents.
With these advances, it’s no surprise that eConsultancy is predicting that 50% of all search traffic will be driven by voice in 2020.