By 22/08/2023

What is Natural Language Understanding NLU?

nlu definition

According to various industry estimates only about 20% of data collected is structured data. The remaining 80% is unstructured data—the majority of which is unstructured text data that’s unusable for traditional methods. Just think of all the online text you consume daily, social media, news, research, product websites, and more. NLP is an umbrella term which encompasses any and everything related to making machines able to process natural language—be it receiving the input, understanding the input, or generating a response. Build fully-integrated bots, trained within the context of your business, with the intelligence to understand human language and help customers without human oversight. For example, allow customers to dial into a knowledgebase and get the answers they need.

Natural Language Processing focuses on the creation of systems to understand human language, whereas Natural Language Understanding seeks to establish comprehension. Rather than relying on computer language syntax, Natural Language Understanding enables computers to comprehend and respond accurately to the sentiments expressed in natural language text. GLUE and its superior SuperGLUE are the most widely used benchmarks to evaluate the performance of a model on a collection of tasks, instead of a single task in order to maintain a general view on the NLU performance. They consist of nine sentence- or sentence-pair language understanding tasks, similarity and paraphrase tasks, and inference tasks. Named Entity Recognition is the process of recognizing “named entities”, which are people, and important places/things.

The amount of unstructured text that needs to be analyzed is increasing

In fact, one of the factors driving the development of ai chip devices with larger model training sizes is the relationship between the NLU model’s increased computational capacity and effectiveness (e.g GPT-3). AI technology has become fundamental in business, whether you realize it or not. Recommendations on Spotify or Netflix, auto-correct and auto-reply, virtual assistants, and automatic email categorization, to name just a few.

  • Supervised models based on grammar rules are typically used to carry out NER tasks.
  • However, there are still many challenges ahead for NLP & NLU in the future.
  • Translation means the literal word to word translation of sentences, NLP can be used for translation but when it comes to phrases and idioms the translations process fails miserably in situations like that transcreation is used.
  • Another difference is that NLP breaks and processes language, while NLU provides language comprehension.
  • NLP is concerned with how computers are programmed to process language and facilitate “natural” back-and-forth communication between computers and humans.

A good rule of thumb is to use the term NLU if you’re just talking about a machine’s ability to understand what we say. While Natural Language Processing is concerned with the linguistic aspect of a language Natural Language Understanding is concerned about its intent. Though different to an extent their correlation is what is driving the change in various modern day industries. NLP and NLU are so closely related that at times these terms are used interchangeably. Transcreation ensures that every line in the sentence is not converted directly into the desired language. Natural Language Processing is primarily concerned with the “syntax of the language”.

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In order to distinguish the most meaningful aspects of words, NLU applies a variety of techniques intended to pick up on the meaning of a group of words with less reliance on grammatical structure and rules. Question answering is a subfield of NLP and speech recognition that uses NLU to help computers automatically understand natural language questions. Before a computer can process unstructured text into a machine-readable format, first machines need to understand the peculiarities of the human language. When an individual gives a voice command to the machine it is broken into smaller parts and later it is processed.

  • Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur.
  • Using predictive modeling algorithms, you can identify these speech patterns automatically in forthcoming calls and recommend a response from your customer service representatives as they are on the call to the customer.
  • NLU smoothens the process of human machine interaction; it bridges the gap between data processing and data analysis.
  • In order to help corporate executives raise the possibility that their chatbot investments will be successful, we address NLU-related questions in this article.
  • There is Natural Language Understanding at work as well, helping the voice assistant to judge the intention of the question.

NLP attempts to analyze and understand the text of a given document, and NLU makes it possible to carry out a dialogue with a computer using natural language. 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. Vancouver Island is the named entity, and Aug. 18 is the numeric entity.

Natural-language understanding

Models in NLP are usually sequential models, they process the queries and can modify each other. 6 min read – Explore why human resource departments should be at the center of your organization’s strategy for generative AI adoption. Here’s a guide to help you craft content that ranks high on search engines. He is a technology veteran with over a decade of experinece in product development. He is the co-captain of the ship, steering product strategy, development, and management at Scalenut. His goal is to build a platform that can be used by organizations of all sizes and domains across borders.

nlu definition

Natural language understanding is considered a problem of artificial intelligence. Speech recognition uses NLU techniques to let computers understand questions posed with natural language. NLU is used to give the users of the device a response in their natural language, instead of providing them a list of possible answers. When you ask a digital assistant a question, NLU is used to help the machines understand the questions, selecting the most appropriate answers based on features like recognized entities and the context of previous statements. Natural language understanding (NLU) is a technical concept within the larger topic of natural language processing. NLU is the process responsible for translating natural, human words into a format that a computer can interpret.

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When given a natural language input, NLU splits that input into individual words — called tokens — which include punctuation and other symbols. The tokens are run through a dictionary that can identify a word and its part of speech. The tokens are then analyzed for their grammatical structure, including the word’s role and different possible ambiguities in meaning. Human language is typically difficult for computers to grasp, as it’s filled with complex, subtle and ever-changing meanings. Natural language understanding systems let organizations create products or tools that can both understand words and interpret their meaning. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a field of computer science which analyzes what human language means, rather than simply what individual words say.

It can be easily trained to understand the meaning of incoming communication in real-time and then trigger the appropriate actions or replies, connecting the dots between conversational input and specific tasks. Natural language understanding (NLU) is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses computer software to understand input in the form of sentences using text or speech. NLU enables human-computer interaction by analyzing language versus just words. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) or Natural Language Interpretation (NLI) is a sub-theme of natural language processing in artificial intelligence and machines involving reading comprehension.

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Companies receive thousands of requests for support every day, so NLU algorithms are useful in prioritizing tickets and enabling support agents to handle them in more efficient ways. NLU stands for Natural Language Understanding, it is a subfield of (NLP). Thus, we need AI embedded rules in NLP to process with machine learning and data science. Only 20% of data on the internet is structured data and usable for analysis.

In particular, sentiment analysis enables brands to monitor their customer feedback more closely, allowing them to cluster positive and negative social media comments and track net promoter scores. By reviewing comments with negative sentiment, companies are able to identify and address potential problem areas within their products or services more quickly. Machines help find patterns in unstructured data, which then help people in understanding the meaning of that data. Natural language processing works by taking unstructured text and converting it into a correct format or a structured text.


Both NLP& NLU have evolved from various disciplines like artificial intelligence, linguistics, and data science for easy understanding of the text. As humans, we can identify such underlying similarities almost effortlessly and respond accordingly. But this is a problem for machines—any algorithm will need the input to be in a set format, and these three sentences vary in their structure and format.

nlu definition

NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming, and it is a type of training that helps people learn how to change the way they think and communicate in order to achieve their goals. However, there are still many challenges ahead for NLP & NLU in the future. One of the main challenges is to teach AI systems how to interact with humans. NLU recognizes that language is a complex task made up of many components such as motions, facial expression recognition etc.

Named Entity Recognition operates by distinguishing fundamental concepts and references in a body of text, identifying named entities and placing them in categories like locations, dates, organizations, people, works, etc. Supervised models based on grammar rules are typically used to carry out NER tasks. Request a demo and begin your natural language understanding journey in AI.

This reduces the cost to serve with shorter calls, and improves customer feedback. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a technique for communicating with computers using natural language. Because the key to dealing with natural language is to let computers “understand” natural language, natural language processing is also called natural language understanding (NLU, Natural). On the one hand, it is a branch of language information processing, on the other hand it is one of the core topics of artificial intelligence (AI). Word-Sense Disambiguation is the process of determining the meaning, or sense, of a word based on the context that the word appears in. Word sense disambiguation often makes use of part of speech taggers in order to contextualize the target word.

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