What Is Natural Language Understanding NLU?

nlu nlp

Thanks to the implementation of customer service chatbots, customers no longer have to suffer through long telephone hold times to receive assistance with products and services. In the case of chatbots created to be virtual assistants to customers, the training data they receive will be relevant to their duties and they will fail to comprehend concepts related to other topics. Just like humans, if an AI hasn’t been taught the right concepts then it will not have the information to handle complex duties.

Accenture reports that 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with companies that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them specifically. Using our example, an unsophisticated software tool could respond by showing data for all types of transport, and display timetable information rather than links for purchasing tickets. Without being able to infer intent accurately, the user won’t get the response they’re looking for. Rather than relying on computer language syntax, Natural Language Understanding enables computers to comprehend and respond accurately to the sentiments expressed in natural language text. NLP is a fast-growing study subject in AI, with applications such as translation, summarization, text production, and sentiment analysis.

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On the other hand, natural language understanding is concerned with semantics – the study of meaning in language. NLU techniques such as sentiment analysis and sarcasm detection allow machines to decipher the true meaning of a sentence, even when it is obscured by idiomatic expressions or ambiguous phrasing. In addition to natural language understanding, natural language generation is another crucial part of NLP. While NLU is responsible for interpreting human language, NLG focuses on generating human-like language from structured and unstructured data. NLP is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans in natural language. It involves techniques for analyzing, understanding, and generating human language.

nlu nlp

He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem’s work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

The Impact of NLU on Customer Experience

The main intention of NLP is to build systems that are able to make sense of text and then automatically execute tasks like spell-check, text translation, topic classification, etc. Companies today use NLP in artificial intelligence to gain insights from data and automate routine tasks. Natural Language Understanding provides machines with the capabilities to understand and interpret human language in a way that goes beyond surface-level processing. It is designed to extract meaning, intent, and context from text or speech, allowing machines to comprehend contextual and emotional touch and intelligently respond to human communication.

Using NLP, NLG, and machine learning in chatbots frees up resources and allows companies to offer 24/7 customer service without having to staff a large department. Entity recognition identifies which distinct entities are present in the text or speech, helping the software to understand the key information. Named entities would be divided into categories, such as people’s names, business names and geographical locations. Numeric entities would be divided into number-based categories, such as quantities, dates, times, percentages and currencies. These three terms are often used interchangeably but that’s not completely accurate.

“To have a meaningful conversation with machines is only possible when we match every word to the correct meaning based on the meanings of the other words in the sentence – just like a 3-year-old does without guesswork.” Your software can take a statistical sample of recorded calls and perform speech recognition after transcribing the calls to text using machine translation. The NLU-based text analysis can link specific speech patterns to negative emotions and high effort levels. Using predictive modeling algorithms, you can identify these speech patterns automatically in forthcoming calls and recommend a response from your customer service representatives as they are on the call to the customer. This reduces the cost to serve with shorter calls, and improves customer feedback.

Even your website’s search can be improved with NLU, as it can understand customer queries and provide more accurate search results. The model analyzes the parts of speech to figure out what exactly the sentence is talking about. Simply put, you can think of ASR as a speech recognition software that lets someone make a voice request. The transcription uses algorithms called Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), which generates a written version of the conversation in real time. Historically, the first speech recognition goal was to accurately recognize 10 digits that were transmitted using a wired device (Davis et al., 1952). From 1960 onwards, numerical methods were introduced, and they were to effectively improve the recognition of individual components of speech, you are asked to say 1, 2 or 3 over the phone.


NLU enables computers to understand what someone meant, even if they didn’t say it perfectly. NLU analyzes data using algorithms to determine its meaning and reduce human speech into a structured ontology consisting of semantic and pragmatic definitions. Structured data is important for efficiently storing, organizing, and analyzing information. However, the full potential of NLP cannot be realized without the support of NLU. And so, understanding NLU is the second step toward enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of your speech recognition and language translation systems.

  • Semantics and syntax are of utmost significance in helping check the grammar and meaning of a text, respectively.
  • It can also provide actionable data insights that lead to informed decision-making.
  • Natural language understanding (NLU) is a technical concept within the larger topic of natural language processing.
  • Search engines like Google use NLU to understand what you’re looking for when you type in a query.

Accurate language processing aids information extraction and sentiment analysis. It also facilitates sentiment analysis, which involves determining the sentiment or emotion expressed in a piece of text, and information retrieval, where machines retrieve relevant information based on user queries. NLP has the potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, customer service, information retrieval, and language education, among others. Natural language understanding is how a computer program can intelligently understand, interpret, and respond to human speech.

Benefits of NLU

For instance, understanding whether a customer is looking for information, reporting an issue, or making a request. On the other hand, entity recognition involves identifying relevant pieces of information within a language, such as the names of people, organizations, locations, and numeric entities. Semantic analysis applies computer algorithms to text, attempting to understand the meaning of words in their natural context, instead of relying on rules-based approaches. The grammatical correctness/incorrectness of a phrase doesn’t necessarily correlate with the validity of a phrase. There can be phrases that are grammatically correct yet meaningless, and phrases that are grammatically incorrect yet have meaning. In order to distinguish the most meaningful aspects of words, NLU applies a variety of techniques intended to pick up on the meaning of a group of words with less reliance on grammatical structure and rules.

nlu nlp

This data allows marketing teams to be more strategic when it comes to executing campaigns. NLU is one of the most important areas of NLP as it makes it possible for machines to understand us. This branch of AI lets analysts train computers to make sense of vast bodies of unstructured text by grouping them together instead of reading each one. That makes it possible to do things like content analysis, machine translation, topic modeling, and question answering on a scale that would be impossible for humans.

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  • Here the user intention is playing cricket but however, there are many possibilities that should be taken into account.
  • As these technologies continue to develop, we can expect to see more immersive and interactive experiences that are powered by natural language processing, understanding, and generation.
  • For example, the suffix -ed on a word, like called, indicates past tense, but it has the same base infinitive (to call) as the present tense verb calling.