Natural language processing is a subfield of linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence concerned with the interactions between computers and human language, in particular how to program computers to have the ability to understand text and spoken words in much the same way human beings can, and to this incredibly quickly and at scale.
NLP combines computational linguistics—rule-based modeling of human language—with statistical, machine learning, and deep learning models. Together, these technologies enable computers to process human language in the form of text or voice data and to ‘understand’ its full meaning, complete with the speaker or writer’s intent and sentiment.
NLP drives computer programs that translate text from one language to another, respond to spoken commands, and summarize large volumes of text rapidly—even in real-time.
You’ve probably interacted with NLP in the form of voice-operated GPS systems, digital assistants like Siri or Alexa, speech-to-text dictation software, customer service chatbots, and other consumer conveniences. NLP also plays a growing role in enterprise solutions that help streamline business operations, increase employee productivity, and simplify mission-critical business processes.