How does Natural Language Understanding NLU work?

Natural Language Understanding for Chatbots by Kumar Shridhar NeuralSpace

how does nlu work

Without using NLU tools in your business, you’re limiting the customer experience you can provide. NLU tools should be able to tag and categorize the text they encounter appropriately. Natural Language Generation is the production of human language content through software. In addition to machine learning, deep learning and ASU, we made sure to make the NLP (Natural Language Processing) as robust as possible. It consists of several advanced components, such as language detection, spelling correction, entity extraction and stemming – to name a few. This foundation of rock-solid NLP ensures that our conversational AI platform is able to correctly process any questions, no matter how poorly they are composed.

how does nlu work

These experiences rely on a technology called Natural Language Understanding, or NLU for short. Let’s take an example of how you could lower call center costs and improve customer satisfaction using NLU-based technology. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a field of computer science which analyzes what human language means, rather than simply what individual words say. ‍In order to help someone, you have to first understand what they need help with. Machine learning can be useful in gaining a basic grasp on underlying customer intent, but it alone isn’t sufficient to gain a full understanding of what a user is requesting. Simplilearn’s AI ML Certification is designed after our intensive Bootcamp learning model, so you’ll be ready to apply these skills as soon as you finish the course.

In today’s age of digital communication, computers have become a vital component of our lives. As a result, understanding human language, or Natural Language Understanding (NLU), has gained immense importance. NLU is a part of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand, interpret, and respond to human language. NLU helps computers comprehend the meaning of words, phrases, and the context in which they are used.

The lowest level intents are self-explanatory and are more catered to the specific task that we want to achieve. Optimizing and executing training is not out of reach for most developers and even non-technical users. Recent breakthroughs in AI, emerging in part because of exponential growth in the availability of computing power, make applying these solutions easier, more approachable, and more affordable than ever. As NLU systems become more prevalent, addressing ethical considerations and biases is of utmost importance.

A simple command like “Hang up the phone,” for example, has historical and colloquial contexts that shape its meaning. NLU powers information retrieval systems and question-answering systems, allowing users to get relevant information from vast amounts of data or obtain accurate answers to their queries. Identifying negation and determining its scope is crucial to correctly interpret sentences and avoid misinterpretations. Dependency parsing identifies the relationships between words in a sentence, determining which words depend on others. For example, it is difficult for call center employees to remain consistently positive with customers at all hours of the day or night.

FAQs About NLU

Chatbots offer 24-7 support and are excellent problem-solvers, often providing instant solutions to customer inquiries. These low-friction channels allow customers to quickly interact with your organization with little hassle. Also, NLU can generate targeted content for customers based on their preferences and interests. Part of this caring is–in addition to providing great customer service and meeting expectations–personalizing the experience for each individual.

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That leaves three-quarters of the conversation for research–which is often manual and tedious. But when you use an integrated system that ‘listens,’ it can share what it learns automatically- making your job much easier. In other words, when a customer asks a question, it will be the automated system that provides the answer, and all the agent has to do is choose which one is best. For example, a computer can use NLG to automatically generate news articles based on data about an event. It could also produce sales letters about specific products based on their attributes. As technology advances, we can expect to see more sophisticated NLU applications that will continue to improve our daily lives.

It’s already being used by millions of businesses and consumers

Two people may read or listen to the same passage and walk away with completely different interpretations. If humans struggle to develop perfectly aligned understanding of human language due to these congenital linguistic challenges, it stands to reason that machines will struggle when encountering this unstructured data. Two key concepts in natural language processing are intent recognition and entity recognition. In other words, it fits natural language (sometimes referred to as unstructured text) into a structure that an application can act on. There are several benefits of natural language understanding for both humans and machines. Humans can communicate more effectively with systems that understand their language, and those machines can better respond to human needs.

If someone says they are going to the “bank,” they could be going to a financial institution or to the edge of a river. Have you ever talked to a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa and marveled at how they seem to understand what you’re saying? Or have you used a chatbot to book a flight or order food and been amazed at how the machine knows precisely what you want?

It involves text classification, sentiment analysis, information extraction, language translation, and more. Natural language understanding (NLU) technology plays a crucial role in customer experience management. By allowing machines to comprehend human language, NLU enables chatbots and virtual assistants to interact with customers more naturally, providing a seamless and satisfying experience. The rapid advancement in Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology is revolutionizing our interaction with machines and digital systems. With NLU, we’re making machines understand human language and equipping them to comprehend our language’s subtleties, nuances, and context. From virtual personal assistants and Chatbots to sentiment analysis and machine translation, NLU is making technology more intuitive, personalized, and user-friendly.

Efforts are being made to ensure fairness, transparency, and inclusivity in language understanding systems. Advancements in multimodal NLU aim to incorporate information from multiple modalities, such as text, images, and sound, to build more comprehensive language understanding systems. NLU aids in analyzing social media posts and comments to understand public sentiment towards products, brands, or events. Organizations can use this information to make informed decisions and respond accordingly.

  • NLU is necessary in data capture since the data being captured needs to be processed and understood by an algorithm to produce the necessary results.
  • Your NLU solution should be simple to use for all your staff no matter their technological ability, and should be able to integrate with other software you might be using for project management and execution.
  • This gives you a better understanding of user intent beyond what you would understand with the typical one-to-five-star rating.
  • Grasping the basics of how it works is essential to determine what kind of training data, they will use to train these intelligent machines.
  • By default, virtual assistants tell you the weather for your current location, unless you specify a particular city.

In this case, the person’s objective is to purchase tickets, and the ferry is the most likely form of travel as the campground is on an island. A basic form of NLU is called parsing, which takes written text and converts it into a structured format for computers to understand. Instead of relying on computer language syntax, NLU enables a computer to comprehend and respond to human-written text.


While we have made major advancements in making machines understand context in natural language, we still have a long way to go. To this end, a method called word vectorization maps words or phrases to corresponding “vectors”—real numbers that the machines can use to predict outcomes, identify word similarities, and better understand semantics. Word vectorization how does nlu work greatly expands a machine’s capacity to understand natural language, which exemplifies the progressive nature and future potential of these technologies. Language is complex—more so than we may realize—so creating software that accounts for all of its nuances and successfully determines the human intent behind that language is also complex.

  • One of the major applications of NLU in AI is in the analysis of unstructured text.
  • NLU techniques enable accurate language translation by considering different languages’ semantics, idiomatic expressions, and cultural references.
  • Not only does this save customer support teams hundreds of hours,it also helps them prioritize urgent tickets.
  • Intent recognition involves identifying the purpose or goal behind an input language, such as the intention of a customer’s chat message.

With NLU, even the smallest language details humans understand can be applied to technology. NLU works by processing large datasets of human language using Machine Learning (ML) models. These models are trained on relevant training data that help them learn to recognize patterns in human language. Knowledge of that relationship and subsequent action helps to strengthen the model.

Overall, natural language understanding is a complex field that continues to evolve with the help of machine learning and deep learning technologies. It plays an important role in customer service and virtual assistants, allowing computers to understand text in the same way humans do. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks for pattern recognition. It allows computers to simulate the thinking of humans by recognizing complex patterns in data and making decisions based on those patterns.

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On top of these deep learning models, we have developed a proprietary algorithm called ASU (Automatic Semantic Understanding). ASU works alongside the deep learning models and tries to find even more complicated connections between the sentences in a virtual agent’s interactions with customers. A data capture application will enable users to enter information into fields on a web form using natural language pattern matching rather than typing out every area manually with their keyboard. It makes it much quicker for users since they don’t need to remember what each field means or how they should fill it out correctly with their keyboard (e.g., date format). Companies can also use natural language understanding software in marketing campaigns by targeting specific groups of people with different messages based on what they’re already interested in. Using a natural language understanding software will allow you to see patterns in your customer’s behavior and better decide what products to offer them in the future.

While these approaches can provide precise results, they can be limited in handling ambiguity and adapting to new language patterns. The semantic analysis involves understanding the meanings of individual words and how they combine to create meaning at the sentence level. For example, in the sentence “The cat sat on the mat,” the semantic analysis would recognize that the sentence conveys the action of a cat sitting on a mat.

This not only saves time and effort but also improves the overall customer experience. Natural Language Processing is a subfield of artificial intelligence studying the interactions between a computer and human language. The purpose of NLP is to transform a natural language input into structured data. It uses a multitude of tasks to do that, such as; part-of-speech tagging, named entity recognition, syntactic parsing, and more. 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.

It works in concert with ASR to turn a transcript of what someone has said into actionable commands. Check out Spokestack’s pre-built models to see some example use cases, import a model that you’ve configured in another system, or use our training data format to create your own. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is the ability of a computer to understand human language. You can use it for many applications, such as chatbots, voice assistants, and automated translation services.

It gives machines a form of reasoning or logic, and allows them to infer new facts by deduction. Both NLP and NLU aim to make sense of unstructured data, but there is a difference between the two. In this blog we have discussed basics about NLU and main components of a simple chatbot. In the next blog, we will discuss the entire development life cycle of a chatbot.

As a result, customer service teams and marketing departments can be more strategic in addressing issues and executing campaigns. Typical computer-generated content will lack the aspects of human-generated content that make it engaging and exciting, like emotion, fluidity, and personality. However, NLG technology makes it possible for computers to produce humanlike text that emulates human writers. This process starts by identifying a document’s main topic and then leverages NLP to figure out how the document should be written in the user’s native language. The first step in NLU involves preprocessing the textual data to prepare it for analysis. This may include tasks such as tokenization, which involves breaking down the text into individual words or phrases, or part-of-speech tagging, which involves labeling each word with its grammatical role.

Machine Learning and Deep Learning techniques are employed in NLU to extract patterns and learn from data. These techniques enable systems to automatically improve their performance through experience, allowing them to recognize and understand various aspects of language. This gives you a better understanding of user intent beyond what you would understand with the typical one-to-five-star rating.

Without being able to infer intent accurately, the user won’t get the response they’re looking for. Identifying their objective helps the software to understand what the goal of the interaction is. In this example, the NLU technology is able to surmise that the person wants to purchase tickets, and the most likely mode of travel is by airplane. The search engine, using Natural Language Understanding, would likely respond by showing search results that offer flight ticket purchases.

Without NLU, Siri would match your words to pre-programmed responses and might give directions to a coffee shop that’s no longer in business. But with NLU, Siri can understand the intent behind your words and use that understanding to provide a relevant and accurate response. This article will delve deeper into how this technology works and explore some of its exciting possibilities. A sophisticated NLU solution should be able to rely on a comprehensive bank of data and analysis to help it recognize entities and the relationships between them.

how does nlu work

Language understanding across different languages and cultures poses challenges due to variations in grammar, vocabulary, and cultural nuances. Developing NLU systems that can handle multilingual and cross-cultural scenarios is an ongoing challenge. Out-of-Vocabulary (OOV) words are words that are not present in the vocabulary of a model or system.

Parsing is only one part of NLU; other tasks include sentiment analysis, entity recognition, and semantic role labeling. By collaborating with Appquipo, businesses can harness the power of NLU to enhance customer interactions, improve operational efficiency, and gain valuable insights from language data. With our expertise in NLU integration, custom development, consulting, training, and support, Appquipo can be a valuable partner in leveraging NLU technologies for your business’s success.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) refers to the capability of AI systems to comprehend and interpret human language. It plays a fundamental role in enabling machines to process, analyze, and derive meaning from textual data. NLU encompasses a range of components that work together to facilitate language understanding. Natural language understanding can positively impact customer experience by making it easier for customers to interact with computer applications. For example, NLU can be used to create chatbots that can simulate human conversation. These chatbots can answer customer questions, provide customer support, or make recommendations.

C. Sentiment Analysis in Social Media

Ongoing research and developments continue to push the boundaries of NLU, leading to more sophisticated and robust models for understanding and interpreting human language. In today’s digital era, our interaction with technology is becoming increasingly seamless and intuitive, requiring machines to possess a more profound understanding of human language and behavior. This interaction transcends explicit commands and structured queries, delving into a realm where humans and machines communicate in natural language, with context and nuance playing pivotal roles.

how does nlu work

NLU encompasses various linguistic and computational techniques that enable machines to comprehend human language effectively. By analyzing the morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of language, NLU models can decipher the structure, relationships, and overall meaning of sentences or texts. This understanding lays the foundation for advanced applications such as virtual assistants, Chatbots, sentiment analysis, language translation, and more.

In this step, the system looks at the relationships between sentences to determine the meaning of a text. This process focuses on how different sentences relate to each other and how they contribute to the overall meaning of a text. For example, the discourse analysis of a conversation would focus on identifying the main topic of discussion and how each sentence contributes to that topic. In this step, the system extracts meaning from a text by looking at the words used and how they are used. For example, the term “bank” can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used.

Make sure your NLU solution is able to parse, process and develop insights at scale and at speed. Depending on your business, you may need to process data in a number of languages. Having support for many languages other than English will help you be more effective at meeting customer expectations. Without a strong relational model, the resulting response isn’t likely to be what the user intends to find. The key aim of any Natural Language Understanding-based tool is to respond appropriately to the input in a way that the user will understand.

Semantics alludes to a sentence’s intended meaning, while syntax refers to its grammatical structure. 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. The training data used for NLU models typically include labeled examples of human languages, such as customer support tickets, chat logs, or other forms of textual data. Natural language understanding, or NLU, uses cutting-edge machine learning techniques to classify speech as commands for your software.

Fortunately, advances in natural language processing (NLP) give computers a leg up in their comprehension of the ways humans naturally communicate through language. Tokenization involves breaking down the text into smaller units, such as words or sentences. This step allows machines to understand the basic units of language and process them individually. Chatbots are necessary for customers who want to avoid long wait times on the phone. With NLU (Natural Language Understanding), chatbots can become more conversational and evolve from basic commands and keyword recognition. To generate text, NLG algorithms first analyze input data to determine what information is important and then create a sentence that conveys this information clearly.

how does nlu work

This data-driven approach provides the information they need quickly, so they can quickly resolve issues – instead of searching multiple channels for answers. Manual ticketing is a tedious, inefficient process that often leads to delays, frustration, and miscommunication. This technology allows your system to understand the text within each ticket, effectively filtering and routing tasks to the appropriate expert or department. By 2025, the NLP market is expected to surpass $43 billion–a 14-fold increase from 2017. Businesses worldwide are already relying on NLU technology to make sense of human input and gather insights toward improved decision-making.

With today’s mountains of unstructured data generated daily, it is essential to utilize NLU-enabled technology. The technology can help you effectively communicate with consumers and save the energy, time, and money that would be expensed otherwise. Due to the fluidity, complexity, and subtleties of human language, it’s often difficult for two people to listen or read the same piece of text and walk away with entirely aligned interpretations.

To do this, NLU has to analyze words, syntax, and the context and intent behind the words. 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.

Forethought’s own customer support AI uses NLU as part of its comprehension process before categorizing tickets, as well as suggesting answers to customer concerns. NLU also enables the development of conversational agents and virtual assistants, which rely on natural language input to carry out simple tasks, answer common questions, and provide assistance to customers. In this case, a chatbot developer must provide the machine’s natural language algorithm with intent data. This data consists of common phrases travel customers may use to create or change their bookings. The natural language algorithm—a machine learning function—trains itself on the data so that the conversational assistant can recognize phrases with similar meanings but different words. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a subfield of natural language processing (NLP) that deals with computer comprehension of human language.

They can provide customer support, answer frequently asked questions, and assist with various tasks in real-time. With the vast amount of digital information available, efficient retrieval is paramount. NLU facilitates the extraction of relevant information from large volumes of unstructured data.

Discourse and contextual understanding involve analyzing language beyond the sentence level to comprehend the larger context and implied meaning. Natural language understanding can help speed up the document review process while ensuring accuracy. With NLU, you can extract essential information from any document quickly and easily, giving you the data you need to make fast business decisions.

You can foun additiona information about ai customer service and artificial intelligence and NLP. However, a chatbot can maintain positivity and safeguard your brand’s reputation. With the advent of voice-controlled technologies like Google Home, consumers are now accustomed to getting unique replies Chat PG to their individual queries; for example, one-fifth of all Google searches are voice-based. You’re falling behind if you’re not using NLU tools in your business’s customer experience initiatives.

Since the pattern is fixed, we can write a regular expression to extract the pattern correctly from the sentence. This technique is cheaper and faster to build, and is flexible enough to be customised, but requires a large amount of human effort to maintain. Intent classification is the process of classifying the customer’s intent by analysing the language they use. NLU is a rapidly evolving field with several ongoing research efforts to drive advancements in language understanding. Lemmatization and stemming involve reducing words to their base form, such as converting “running” to “run.” This step aids in normalizing the text and improving consistency in language understanding. On average, an agent spends only a quarter of their time during a call interacting with the customer.

Our experienced professionals can assess your business requirements, recommend the most suitable NLU techniques and approaches, and help you develop a comprehensive NLU strategy to achieve your business objectives. NLU captures and understands data from various sources, including forms, surveys, and documents. NLU techniques assist in extracting relevant information, validating inputs, and ensuring data accuracy, reducing manual effort in data entry tasks. This is the most complex stage of NLU, involving the interpretation of the text in its given context. The pragmatic analysis considers real-world knowledge and specific situational context to understand the meaning or implication behind the words. For instance, depending on the context, “It’s cold in here” could be interpreted as a request to close the window or turn up the heat.

NLU has opened up new possibilities for businesses and individuals, enabling them to interact with machines more naturally. From customer support to data capture and machine translation, NLU applications are transforming how we live and work. The most common example of natural language understanding is voice recognition technology. Voice recognition software can analyze spoken words and convert them into text or other data that the computer can process.

Sentiment analysis can help determine the overall attitude of customers towards the company, while content analysis can reveal common themes and topics mentioned in customer feedback. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) refers to the ability of a machine to interpret and generate human language. However, NLU systems face numerous challenges while processing natural language inputs. Some of the most prominent use of NLU is in chatbots and virtual assistants where NLU has gained recent success. These systems are designed to understand the intent of the users through text or speech input.

If you’re starting from scratch, we recommend Spokestack’s NLU training data format. This will give you the maximum amount of flexibility, as our format supports several features you won’t find elsewhere, like implicit slots and generators. All you’ll need is a collection of intents and slots and a set of example utterances for each intent, and we’ll train and package a model that you can download and include in your application. The intent is a form of pragmatic distillation of the entire utterance and is produced by a portion of the model trained as a classifier. Slots, on the other hand, are decisions made about individual words (or tokens) within the utterance.

This stage enables the system to grasp the nuances of the language, including sarcasm, humor, and cultural references, which are typically challenging for machines to understand. Text analysis solutions enable machines to automatically understand the content of customer support tickets and route them to the correct departments without employees having to open every single ticket. Not only does this save customer support teams hundreds of hours,it also helps them prioritize urgent tickets. Accurately translating text or speech from one language to another is one of the toughest challenges of natural language processing and natural language understanding. NLU enables computers to understand the sentiments expressed in a natural language used by humans, such as English, French or Mandarin, without the formalized syntax of computer languages. NLU researchers and developers are trying to create a software that is capable of understanding language in the same way that humans understand it.