What is Natural Language Processing? An Introduction to NLP

What is Natural Language Processing? An Introduction to NLP

Cross-lingual representations Stephan remarked that not enough people are working on low-resource languages. There are 1,250-2,100 languages in Africa alone, most of which have received scarce attention from the NLP community. The question of specialized tools also depends on the NLP task that is being tackled. Cross-lingual word embeddings are sample-efficient as they only require word translation pairs or even only monolingual data. They align word embedding spaces sufficiently well to do coarse-grained tasks like topic classification, but don’t allow for more fine-grained tasks such as machine translation.

Al. refer to the adage “there’s no data like more data” as the driving idea behind the growth in model size. But their article calls into question what perspectives are being baked into these large datasets. Natural language processing is a technology that is already starting to shape the way we engage with the world. With the help of complex algorithms and intelligent analysis, NLP tools can pave the way for digital assistants, chatbots, voice search, and dozens of applications we’ve scarcely imagined. Coreference resolutionGiven a sentence or larger chunk of text, determine which words (“mentions”) refer to the same objects (“entities”). Anaphora resolution is a specific example of this task, and is specifically concerned with matching up pronouns with the nouns or names to which they refer.

Symbolic NLP (1950s – early 1990s)

NLP also enables computer-generated language close to the voice of a human. Phone calls to schedule appointments like an oil change or haircut can be automated, as evidenced by this video showing Google Assistant making a hair appointment. The interactive workshop aimed to increase awareness and skills for NLP in Africa, especially among researchers, students, and data scientists new to NLP.


Medication adherence is the most studied drug therapy problem and co-occurred with concepts related to patient-centered interventions targeting self-management. The framework requires additional refinement and evaluation to determine its relevance and applicability across a broad audience including underserved settings. Event discovery in social media feeds (Benson et al.,2011) , using a graphical model to analyze any social media feeds to determine whether it contains the name of a person or name of a venue, place, time etc. Since simple tokens may not represent the actual meaning of the text, it is advisable to use phrases such as “North Africa” as a single word instead of ‘North’ and ‘Africa’ separate words.

Low-resource languages

Computational methods enable clinical research and have shown great success in advancing clinical research in areas such as drug repositioning . Much clinical information is currently contained in the free text of scientific publications and clinical records. For this reason, Natural Language Processing has been increasingly impacting biomedical research [3–5]. Prime clinical applications for NLP include assisting healthcare professionals with retrospective studies and clinical decision making . There have been a number of success stories in various biomedical NLP applications in English [8–19].

  • However, systems based on handwritten rules can only be made more accurate by increasing the complexity of the rules, which is a much more difficult task.
  • From the above examples, we can see that the uneven representation in training and development have uneven consequences.
  • Table2 presents a classification of the studies cross-referenced by NLP method and language.
  • The last two objectives may serve as a literature survey for the readers already working in the NLP and relevant fields, and further can provide motivation to explore the fields mentioned in this paper.
  • All authors sought relevant references to be added and each contributed to the creation of Table2.
  • Word embeddings quantify 100 years of gender and ethnic stereotypesThese issues are also present in large language models.Zhao et.

The vast majority of labeled and unlabeled data exists in just 7 languages, representing roughly 1/3 of all speakers. This puts state of the art performance out of reach for the other 2/3rds of the world. In an attempt to bridge this gap, NLP researchers have explored using BERT models pre-trained on a high-resource language with low-resource fine-tuning (referred to usually as Multi-BERT) and using “adapters” to transfer learnings across languages. However, in general these cross-language approaches perform worse than their mono-lingual counterparts.


These challenges allowed participants with similar interests to connect with each other in a supported environment and improve their machine learning and NLP skills. One of the challenges everyone faces in this space is the scarcity of machine readable language data which can be used to build technology. Diversity gaps in Natural Language Processing education and academia also narrow representation among language technologists working on lesser-resourced languages. Democratizing access to underrepresented languages data and increasing NLP education helps drive NLP research and advance language technology. Natural language processing plays a vital part in technology and the way humans interact with it.

University Researchers Publish Results of NLP Community … – InfoQ.com

University Researchers Publish Results of NLP Community ….

Posted: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Do you need to have hundreds of separate conversations with customers to help them solve specific tasks? Then perhaps you can benefit from text classification, information retrieval, or information extraction. Information extraction is the process of pulling out specific content from text. Information extraction is extremely powerful when you want precise content buried within large blocks of text and images.

Data analysis

When first approaching a problem, a general best practice is to start with the simplest tool that could solve the job. Whenever it comes to classifying data, a common favorite for its versatility and explainability is Logistic Regression. It is very simple to train and the results are interpretable as you can easily extract the most important coefficients from the model. We have labeled data and so we know which tweets belong to which categories. As Richard Socher outlines below, it is usually faster, simpler, and cheaper to find and label enough data to train a model on, rather than trying to optimize a complex unsupervised method.

  • While the terms AI and NLP might conjure images of futuristic robots, there are already basic examples of NLP at work in our daily lives.
  • Inclusiveness, however, should not be treated as solely a problem of data acquisition.
  • Even for humans this sentence alone is difficult to interpret without the context of surrounding text.
  • Earlier language-based models examine the text in either of one direction which is used for sentence generation by predicting the next word whereas the BERT model examines the text in both directions simultaneously for better language understanding.
  • The naïve bayes is preferred because of its performance despite its simplicity In Text Categorization two types of models have been used .
  • Cross-lingual word embeddings are sample-efficient as they only require word translation pairs or even only monolingual data.

One could argue that there exists a single learning algorithm that if used with an agent embedded in a sufficiently rich environment, with an appropriate reward structure, could learn NLU from the ground up. For comparison, AlphaGo required a huge infrastructure to solve a well-defined board game. The creation of a general-purpose algorithm that can continue to learn is related to lifelong learning and to general problem solvers.

Clinical research in a global context

The term phonology comes from Ancient Greek in which the term phono means voice or sound and the suffix –logy refers to nlp problems or speech. Phonology includes semantic use of sound to encode meaning of any Human language. From the above examples, we can see that the uneven representation in training and development have uneven consequences. These consequences fall more heavily on populations that have historically received fewer of the benefits of new technology (i.e. women and people of color).


The importance of system design was evidenced in a study attempting to adapt a rule-based de-identification method for clinical narratives in English to French . Language-specific rules were encoded together with de-identification rules. As a result, separating language-specific rules and task-specific rules amounted to re-designing an entirely new system for the new language.

  • More generally, the use of word clusters as features for machine learning has been proven robust for a number of languages across families .
  • With this, call-center volumes and operating costs can be significantly reduced, as observed by the Australian Tax Office , a revenue collection agency.
  • Cognition refers to “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its processes.
  • Despite the widespread usage, it’s still unclear if applications that rely on language models, such as generative chatbots, can be safely and effectively released into the wild without human oversight.
  • There are 1,250–2,100 languages in Africa alone, but the data for these languages are scarce.
  • She also suggested we should look back to approaches and frameworks that were originally developed in the 80s and 90s, such as FrameNet and merge these with statistical approaches.

We have around 20,000 words in our vocabulary in the “Disasters of Social Media” example, which means that every sentence will be represented as a vector of length 20,000. The vector will contain mostly 0s because each sentence contains only a very small subset of our vocabulary. Proceedings of the EACL 2009 Workshop on the Interaction between Linguistics and Computational Linguistics. Often used to provide summaries of the text of a known type, such as research papers, articles in the financial section of a newspaper.

In the 2010s, representation learning and deep neural network-style machine learning methods became widespread in natural language processing. That popularity was due partly to a flurry of results showing that such techniques can achieve state-of-the-art results in many natural language tasks, e.g., in language modeling and parsing. This is increasingly important in medicine and healthcare, where NLP helps analyze notes and text in electronic health records that would otherwise be inaccessible for study when seeking to improve care. The first objective gives insights of the various important terminologies of NLP and NLG, and can be useful for the readers interested to start their early career in NLP and work relevant to its applications. The second objective of this paper focuses on the history, applications, and recent developments in the field of NLP. The third objective is to discuss datasets, approaches and evaluation metrics used in NLP.

Why is NLP hard in AI?

Natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence within computer science that focuses on helping computers to understand the way that humans write and speak. This is a difficult task because it involves a lot of unstructured data.