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Natural-Language Understanding an overview

how does natural language understanding nlu work

NLU has massive potential for customer service and brand development – it can help businesses to get an insight into what customers want and need. This allows for a more seamless user experience, as the user doesn’t have to constantly explain what they are trying to say. Using NLU and machine learning, you can train the system to recognize incoming communication in real-time and respond appropriately. This allows them to understand the context of a user’s question or input and respond accordingly. NLU is a field of computer science that focuses on understanding the meaning of human language rather than just individual words.

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While speech recognition captures spoken language in real-time, transcribes it, and returns text, NLU goes beyond recognition to determine a user’s intent. Speech recognition is powered by statistical machine learning methods which add numeric structure to large datasets. In NLU, machine learning models improve over time as they learn to recognize syntax, context, language patterns, unique definitions, sentiment, and intent. NLU algorithms are used in a variety of applications, such as natural language processing (NLP), natural language generation (NLG), and natural language understanding (NLU). NLU algorithms are used in applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and customer service applications.


It provides the ability to give instructions to machines in a more easy and efficient manner. Google released the word2vec tool, and Facebook followed by publishing their speed optimized deep learning modules. Since language is at the core of many businesses today, it’s important to understand what NLU is, and how you can use it to meet some of your business goals. In this article, you will learn three key tips on how to get into this fascinating and useful field. NLU focuses specifically on the interpretation of human language, while NLP encompasses a wider range of tasks related to human language processing.

how does natural language understanding nlu work

After preprocessing, NLU models use various ML techniques to extract meaning from the text. One common approach is using intent recognition, which involves identifying the purpose or goal behind a given text. For example, an NLU model might recognize that a user’s message is an inquiry about a product or service.

Techopedia Explains Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

Once the NLU processes are complete, domain processing carries out goal analysis, user modeling, and domain planning. Natural language is an integral part of our everyday lives, yet it has always been challenging to process. So likewise, natural language understanding NLU technologies quickly become an integral part of our lives. But it isn’t without its challenges, which also means that the question “how does NLU work? The difference between the two is easy to tell via context, too, which we’ll be able to leverage through natural language understanding. Language is how we all communicate and interact, but machines have long lacked the ability to understand human language.

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By implementing NLU, chatbots that would otherwise only be able to supply barebone replies can use keyword recognition to amplify their conversational capabilities. NLU-powered chatbots can provide instant, 24/7 customer support at every stage of the customer journey. This competency drastically improves customer satisfaction by establishing a quick communication channel to solve common problems. The aim of intent recognition is to identify the user's sentiment within a body of text and determine the objective of the communication at hand. Because it establishes the meaning of the text, intent recognition can be considered the most important part of NLU systems. By far, however, most attention has focused on exploiting speech information present in the video of the speaker's mouth region.

Most Accurate Responses

Its ability to process and analyze large volumes of natural language data makes it a valuable tool for businesses and organizations across the board. As enterprises increasingly become insight-driven, they are seeking to leverage the vast unstructured data to improve business operations and accelerate speed to outcomes. But existing natural language processing and understanding (NLP/NLU) technologies are not fulfilling enterprise demands—they are too narrow, too generic, or too costly to develop, deploy, and maintain.

  • It involves the processing of human language to extract relevant meaning from it.
  • Even including newer search technologies using images and audio, the vast, vast majority of searches happen with text.
  • Additionally, NLU can be used to provide customers with more tailored recommendations based on their interests and past purchases.
  • NLU is used in data mining and analysis to extract insights from large volumes of textual data.
  • A user searching for “how to make returns” might trigger the “help” intent, while “red shoes” might trigger the “product” intent.
  • NLU is a subfield of NLP (Natural Language Processing), which deals with the processing of human language by computers.

This isn’t so different from what you see when you search for the weather on Google. Spell check can be used to craft a better query or provide feedback to the searcher, but it is often unnecessary and should never stand alone. The simplest way to handle these typos, misspellings, and variations, is to avoid trying to correct them at all. Which you go with ultimately depends on your goals, but most searches can generally perform very well with neither stemming nor lemmatization, retrieving the right results, and not introducing noise. Lemmatization will generally not break down words as much as stemming, nor will as many different word forms be considered the same after the operation.

Improved Product Development

To get the right results, it’s important to make sure the search is processing and understanding both the query and the documents. When there are multiple content types, federated search can perform admirably by showing multiple search results in a single UI at the same time. A user searching for “how to make returns” might trigger the “help” intent, while “red shoes” might trigger the “product” intent. Identifying searcher intent is getting people to the right content at the right time.

how does natural language understanding nlu work

However, as IVR technology advanced, features such as NLP and NLU have broadened its capabilities and users can interact with the phone system via voice. The system processes the user's voice, converts the words to text, and then parses the grammatical structure of the sentence to determine the probable intent of the caller. Instead, the system use machine learning to choose the intent that matches best, from a set of possible intents.

Benefits of NLU Algorithms

It’s likely that you already have enough data to train the algorithms

Google may be the most prolific producer of successful NLU applications. The reason why its search, machine translation and ad recommendation work so well is because Google has access to huge data sets. For the rest of us, current algorithms like word2vec require significantly less data to return useful results. Sentiment analysis is subjective, and different people may have different opinions on the same piece of text. This can lead to incorrect sentiment analysis by computers if they do not take into account the subjectivity of human language.

  • Using complex algorithms that rely on linguistic rules and AI machine training, Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and Facebook Translation have become leaders in the field of “generic” language translation.
  • According to various industry estimates only about 20% of data collected is structured data.
  • Conversely, a search engine could have 100% recall by only returning documents that it knows to be a perfect fit, but sit will likely miss some good results.
  • While NLU and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are often used interchangeably, they are not quite the same thing.
  • By using NLP techniques to interpret and understand language, NLU technology can help computers better understand and respond to requests and commands, making them more capable and user-friendly.
  • By understanding NLU, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of human language and the potential for technology to revolutionize the way we communicate and interact with each other.

Natural Language Processing focuses on the creation of systems to understand human language, whereas Natural Language Understanding seeks to establish comprehension. It can be used to help customers better understand the products and services that they're interested in, or it can be used to help businesses better understand their customers' needs. A chatbot is a program that uses artificial intelligence to simulate conversations with human users. A chatbot may respond to each user’s input or have a set of responses for common questions or phrases.

Language Understanding Beyond the Spoken Word

The NLU-based text analysis can link specific speech patterns to negative emotions and high effort levels. This reduces the cost to serve with shorter calls, and improves customer feedback. As we continue to advance in the realms of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the importance of NLP and NLU will only grow. However, navigating the complexities of natural language processing and natural language understanding can be a challenging task. This is where Simform’s expertise in AI and machine learning development services can help you overcome those challenges and leverage cutting-edge language processing technologies. Natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables machines to understand human language.

how does natural language understanding nlu work

What is NLP and how is it different from NLU?

NLP (Natural Language Processing): It understands the text's meaning. NLU (Natural Language Understanding): Whole processes such as decisions and actions are taken by it. NLG (Natural Language Generation): It generates the human language text from structured data generated by the system to respond.

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