What is natural language understanding NLU Definition?

What Is Natural Language Understanding NLU ?

how does nlu work

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on the comprehension and interpretation of human language by machines. It involves the ability of computers to extract meaning, context, and intent from written or spoken language, enabling them to understand and respond appropriately. Conversational interfaces, also known as chatbots, sit on the front end of a website in order for customers to interact with a business.

how does nlu work

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. NLU (natural language understanding) is the process of understanding user input in natural language. Natural Language Understanding is a big component of IVR since interactive voice response is taking in someone’s words and processing it to understand the how does nlu work intent and sentiment behind the caller’s needs. IVR makes a great impact on customer support teams that utilize phone systems as a channel since it can assist in mitigating support needs for agents. Natural language output, on the other hand, is the process by which the machine presents information or communicates with the user in a natural language format. This may include text, spoken words, or other audio-visual cues such as gestures or images.

Main differences between NLP and NLU

Customer support agents can leverage NLU technology to gather information from customers while they're on the phone without having to type out each question individually. Naren Bhati is a skilled AI Expert passionate about creating innovative digital solutions. With 10+ years of experience in the industry, Naren has developed expertise in designing and building software that meets the needs of businesses and consumers alike.

how does nlu work

Natural Language Understanding is a crucial component of modern-day technology, enabling machines to understand human language and communicate effectively with users. At its most basic, sentiment analysis can identify the tone behind natural language inputs such as social media posts. Taking it further, the software can organize unstructured data into comprehensible customer feedback reports that delineate the general opinions of customers. This data allows marketing teams to be more strategic when it comes to executing campaigns.

The definition of natural language understanding

Tokenization helps the system analyze each input component and its relationship to the others. This is important for applications that need to deal with a vast vocabulary and complex syntaxes, such as chatbots and writing assistants. Natural language understanding (NLU) is one of the most challenging technologies in artificial intelligence. Natural Language Understanding enables machines to understand a set of text by working to understand the language of the text.

Explore some of the latest NLP research at IBM or take a look at some of IBM’s product offerings, like Watson Natural Language Understanding. Its text analytics service offers insight into categories, concepts, entities, keywords, relationships, sentiment, and syntax from your textual data to help you respond to user needs quickly and efficiently. Help your business get on the right track to analyze and infuse your data at scale for AI.

Natural Language Processing

Plus, a higher employee retention rate will save your company money on recruitment and training. 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. For example, it is difficult for call center employees to remain consistently positive with customers at all hours of the day or night. However, a chatbot can maintain positivity and safeguard your brand’s reputation. Chatbots offer 24-7 support and are excellent problem-solvers, often providing instant solutions to customer inquiries.

  • Developers only need to design, train, and build a natural language application once to have it work with all existing (and future) channels such as voice, SMS, chat, Messenger, Twitter, WeChat, and Slack.
  • Answering customer calls and directing them to the correct department or person is an everyday use case for NLUs.
  • Techniques commonly used in NLU include deep learning and statistical machine translation, which allows for more accurate and real-time analysis of text data.
  • It involves understanding the intent behind a user’s input, whether it be a query or a request.

Techniques commonly used in NLU include deep learning and statistical machine translation, which allows for more accurate and real-time analysis of text data. Overall, NLU technology is set to revolutionize the way businesses handle text data and provide a more personalized and efficient customer experience. Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and linguistics concerned with the interactions between machines and human (natural) languages. As its name suggests, natural language processing deals with the process of getting computers to understand human language and respond in a way that is natural for humans.

Why is Natural Language Understanding important?

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 https://www.metadialog.com/ (NLU), has gained immense importance. NLU is a part of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand, interpret, and respond to human language.

  • In addition, referential ambiguity, which occurs when a word could refer to multiple entities, makes it difficult for NLU systems to understand the intended meaning of a sentence.
  • Millions of businesses already use NLU-based technology to analyze human input and gather actionable insights.
  • It turns language, known technically as ‘unstructured data’, into a ‘machine readable’ format, known as ‘structured data’.
  • In addition, Botpress supports more than 10 languages natively, including English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese.

Based on some data or query, an NLG system would fill in the blank, like a game of Mad Libs. But over time, natural language generation systems have evolved with the application of hidden Markov chains, recurrent neural networks, and transformers, enabling more dynamic text generation in real time. Here, “natural language” which refers to the most natural language human beings use to communicate since the age of two or three.

Christian Dugast, Ph.D., is the Lead Scientist Architect for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) at AppTek, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based speech and language technologies. Christian received his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Toulouse in France and brings a deep background in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Information Extraction. Prior to AppTek, Christian worked at Phillips Research, Nuance, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Customer support has been revolutionized by the introduction of conversational AI. Thanks to the implementation of customer service chatbots, customers no longer have to suffer through long telephone hold times to receive assistance with products and services.

how does nlu work

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. But as with human intelligence, sufficient training of AI enables a machine to overcome these complexities (if the training data is well-shaped enough). These embeddings half-opened the door to a new world by producing one embedding per word, without taking into account its semantic class. A few years later, we were able to train context-dependent embeddings (such as BERT and ROBERTa) where we could obtain an embedding for “Paris” as a person name and another embedding for “Paris” as a city name. These more complex embeddings are now widely—and successfully—used to fine-tune downstream tasks like named entity recognition. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI).

See how XM for Customer Frontlines works

A language model is simply the component parts of a Natural Language Understanding system all working together. Once you’ve specified intents and entities, and you’ve populated intents with training data, you have a language model. That means that a user utterance doesn’t have to match a specific phrase in your how does nlu work training data. Similar enough phrases could be matched to a relevant intent, providing the ‘confidence score’ is high enough. Most of the time, NLU is found in chatbots, voicebots and voice assistants, but it can theoretically be used in any application that aims to understand the meaning of typed text.

Then there are open source NLU tools such as Rasa and a range of conversational AI platforms on the market, which have NLU built-in. Some have their own proprietary NLU, others use one (or all) of the cloud providers above behind the scenes. Critical foundational knowledge on Natural Language Understanding (NLU) for anyone interested in learning about conversational AI or conversation design.


Natural language understanding is taking a natural language input, like a sentence or paragraph, and processing it to produce an output. It's often used in consumer-facing applications like web search engines and chatbots, where users interact with the application using plain language. 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.

how does nlu work

In contrast, named entities can be the names of people, companies, and locations. Choosing an NLU capable solution will put your organization on the path to better, faster communication and more efficient processes. NLU technology should be a core part of your AI adoption strategy if you want to extract meaningful insight from your unstructured data. It’s critical to understand that NLU and NLP aren’t the same things; NLU is a subset of NLP. NLU is an artificial intelligence method that interprets text and any type of unstructured language data. Generally, computer-generated content lacks the fluidity, emotion and personality that makes human-generated content interesting and engaging.

Language and AI: What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)? – Dothan Eagle

Language and AI: What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?.

Posted: Tue, 29 Aug 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]