Summary

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a fascinating subfield of AI that focuses on enabling machines to understand, interpret, generate, and interact with human language. This technology underpins applications like spell-check, translation services, and voice-activated assistants.

ELI5

Imagine if you could talk to your favorite toy and it understood precisely what you were saying. Not only that, but it could even reply back. That’s pretty much what NLP is all about, making computers smart enough to understand and talk in the language we humans use.

In-depth explanation

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the intersection of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics that allows computers to process, understand, analyze, generate, and interact with human language in a meaningful way. It helps devices understand human language with all its nuances, including slang, regional dialects, and ambiguous meanings.

NLP includes two main components: Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). NLU is concerned with machine reading comprehension, i.e., the understanding of human language by a machine. On the other hand, NLG involves generating natural language from a machine representation system such as knowledge or database.

A key challenge in NLP is the handling of ambiguities, which can be lexical (a word has multiple meanings), syntactic (a sentence has multiple interpretations), or referential (it is unclear what a pronoun or relative clause refers to).

Modern NLP systems use machine learning, particularly deep learning, to absorb these rules of language by training on a large corpus of text. Word embeddings like Word2Vec and GloVe have been widely used and have proven effective. More recently, transformers, such as BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), leverage context for language processing tasks, which has been a game-changer in the field.

Applications of NLP are widespread and include machine translation, sentiment analysis, named entity recognition, part of speech tagging, information extraction, spell checking, keyword search, question answering, and chatbots.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Natural Language Generation (NLG), Machine Translation, Sentiment Analysis, Named Entity Recognition, Part of Speech Tagging, Information Extraction, Chatbot, Word2Vec, GloVe, BERT.