Your text and voice are being manipulated by machines more than you may realize.
In addition to recommendation engines, one of the most common applications of machine learning is natural language processing (NLP), which is the analysis and processing of natural languages by software. This can include speech and copy.
You can see NLP in everything from spell check, email spam filters, virtual assistants, chatbots, autocorrect, speech recognition, and sentiment analysis. Below is a brief list of how NLP is used in everyday life.
Try opening Google and searching for “restaurants,” and then look at all of the autocomplete options that Google lists below your search term. In many cases, Google can anticipate your intended search to speed up your query. They do this through NLP and by aggregating searches from their many users to make informed assumptions on what you’re looking for.
Alexa and Siri
When you talk to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri (fun fact: Siri is an acronym for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface), the NLP technology captures the audio from your voice and turns it into text, which is then processed. In response, data is turned into an audio file, which is played by Alexa or Siri to answer your inquiry. This all happens in seconds or less.
Major e-commerce sites can interpret the language from customers’ product reviews and perform sentiment analysis using NLP technology to inform their product rankings and suggestions. This also can be used to detect fraudulent product reviews. Another example is Airbnb, which uses NLP to help sort rental reviews by specific categories.
Banks, software companies, online retailers, and many other companies use automated chatbots to respond to customer inquiries and direct users to the proper response channels. This is done using NLP technology to examine the text in customer chat messages. It’s not perfect, but it saves companies millions of dollars in customer service costs.
One of the fastest-growing consumer products is Grammarly, which is a tool that uses NLP technology to help users with spell check, grammar, and punctuation on their emails, documents, and more.
Nobody likes to check their voicemail. Thankfully, you don’t need to anymore. Thanks to NLP technology, most phones have speech-to-text functionality that allows you to read your voicemails. NLP also enables voice-to-text messaging. Imagine how much time this saves you?
Companies like Descript, Rev, Trint, and others allow users to upload audio files, which these companies can automatically transcribe at near-100% accuracy thanks to NLP technology. The days of journalists spending hours transcribing interviews are now gone.
Are you using NLP in your business? Do you need to find engineers with a background in machine learning, artificial intelligence, or data science? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.