Natural language processing or NLP is a subfield of artificial intelligence that is concerned with equipping machines or computer systems with the capabilities to understand and even produce spoken works and written in a manner that is similar to the language processing capabilities of humans. It is fundamentally about human-computer interaction using natural language rather than a programming language and hardware-based inputs.
It is important to understand and acknowledge natural language processing as an important subfield of artificial intelligence considering its aforementioned definition. Note that the numerous applications of NLP have marked advances in artificial intelligence and the specific subfields of machine learning and deep learning. Advancing NLP further means advancing AI as a field and as a technology with practical applications.
Why is Natural Language Processing Important? What is its Role in Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence or AI is about enabling computer systems to perform a task or produce outcomes that usually require human intelligence. Examples include making decisions, recognizing and producing speech, and autonomous movements, among others.
The aforesaid definition means that natural language processing is an important subfield of AI and even one of its main goals. Remember that NLP equips computer systems such as hardware and software applications with the capabilities to interact and communicate in a manner that is similar to the verbal communication skills of humans.
Furthermore, in other words, the role of NLP in AI is to use natural language as a form of interaction between computers and humans, and even among computer systems. This means using spoken words or written texts.
A system equipped with capabilities to process natural language can recognize and understand speech and texts while also responding to such. It can perform tasks or produce outcomes to inputs such as written texts or spoken words. More advanced NLP models and applications can even produce speech and texts in a human-like fashion.
These capabilities also mean that NLP makes using and interacting with computer systems more intuitive and user-friendly. There lessens the need to use a graphical user interface, hardware input, and in other cases, write and execute computer programs.
Advances in NLP also demonstrate the benefits of machine learning, the applications of deep learning, and the importance of artificial neural networks in modern-day computing. Its application together with other subfields and technologies relevant to artificial intelligence is also essential in achieving artificial general intelligence or AGI.
Some of the current applications of NLP include the voice recognition features of smartphones, editing and writing capabilities of word processors and writing tools, language translation, automatic audio transcription, and voice assistant applications, among others.