What is natural language understanding n l u and how is it used in practice

IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding

what does nlu mean

For machines, human language, also referred to as natural language, is how humans communicate—most often in the form of text. It comprises the majority of enterprise data and includes everything from text contained in email, to PDFs and other document types, chatbot dialog, social media, etc. Systems will be trained to identify and respond to human emotions expressed in text and speech.

Natural language processing (NLP) is an interdisciplinary domain which is concerned with understanding natural languages as well as using them to enable human–computer interaction. Natural languages are inherently complex and many NLP tasks are ill-posed for mathematically precise algorithmic solutions. So, if you’re Google, you’re using natural language processing to break down human language and better understand the true meaning behind a search query or sentence in an email. You’re also using it to analyze blog posts to match content to known search queries. With advances in AI technology we have recently seen the arrival of large language models (LLMs) like GPT.

Built-in entities

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. 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. This reduces the cost to serve with shorter calls, and improves customer feedback. John Ball, cognitive scientist and inventor of Patom Theory, supports this assessment.

Voice assistants and virtual assistants have several common features, such as the ability to set reminders, play music, and provide news and weather updates. They also offer personalized recommendations based on user behavior and preferences, making them an essential part of the modern home and workplace. As NLU technology continues to advance, voice assistants and virtual assistants are likely to become even more capable and integrated into our daily lives. If people can have different interpretations of the same language due to specific congenital linguistic challenges, then you can bet machines will also struggle when they come across unstructured data. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) connects with human communication’s deeper meanings and purposes, such as feelings, objectives, or motivation. It employs AI technology and algorithms, supported by massive data stores, to interpret human language.

What are the Differences Between NLP, NLU, and NLG?

Advanced parsing techniques are employed to construct a syntactic tree that represents the grammatical structure of the text, allowing NLU systems to navigate the intricacies of language structure. NLP or ‘Natural Language Processing’ is a set of text recognition solutions that can understand words and sentences formulated by users. In order to be able to work and interact with us properly, machines need to learn through a natural language processing (NLP) system. It is easy to see why natural language understanding is an extremely important issue for companies that want to use intelligent robots to communicate with their customers.

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NLU is more powerful than NLP when understanding human communication as it considers the context of the conversation. An easier way to describe the differences is that NLP is the study of the structure of a text. In other words, NLU focuses on semantics and the meaning of words, which is essential for the application to generate a meaningful response. Here is a benchmark article by SnipsAI, AI voice platform, comparing F1-scores, a measure of accuracy, of different conversational AI providers. It is best to compare the performances of different solutions by using objective metrics. Computers can perform language-based analysis for 24/7  in a consistent and unbiased manner.

Check the articles comparing NLU vs. NLP vs. NLG and NLU vs. SLU or learn more about LLMs and LLM applications. Don’t forget to review the buyer’s NLU guide and comparison of top NLU software before making a decision. Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

For example, we define the DontKnow intent by creating a directory en and placing a file called DontKnow.exm in there. As can be seen, the examples can be provided by overriding the getExamples() method. In the healthcare industry, this technology has the potential to be a tremendous asset for organizations. This data can then be used to improve marketing campaigns or product offerings.

In an uncertain global economy and business landscape, one of the best ways to stay competitive is to utilise the latest, greatest, and most powerful natural language understanding AI technologies currently available. You see, when you analyse data using NLU or natural language understanding software, you can find new, more practical, and more cost-effective ways to make business decisions – based on the data you just unlocked. This is in contrast to NLU, which applies grammar rules (among other techniques) to “understand” the meaning conveyed in the text. NLU provides support by understanding customer requests and quickly routing them to the appropriate team member. Because NLU grasps the interpretation and implications of various customer requests, it’s a precious tool for departments such as customer service or IT. It has the potential to not only shorten support cycles but make them more accurate by being able to recommend solutions or identify pressing priorities for department teams.

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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. NLU systems are used on a daily basis for answering customer calls and routing them to the appropriate department. IVR systems allow you to handle customer queries and complaints on a 24/7 basis without having to hire extra staff or pay your current staff for any overtime hours. The goal of a chatbot is to minimize the amount of time people need to spend interacting with computers and maximize the amount of time they spend doing other things. For instance, you are an online retailer with data about what your customers buy and when they buy them. For example, when a human reads a user’s question on Twitter and replies with an answer, or on a large scale, like when Google parses millions of documents to figure out what they’re about.

What Are the Differences Between NLU, NLP, and NLG?

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) refers to the process by which machines are able to analyze, interpret, and generate human language. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) plays a crucial role in the development and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). NLU is the ability of computers to understand human language, making it possible for machines to interact with humans in a more natural and intuitive way.

  • 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.
  • For example, the entity Date corresponds to “tomorrow” or “the 3rd of July”.
  • Natural language processing has made inroads for applications to support human productivity in service and ecommerce, but this has largely been made possible by narrowing the scope of the application.
  • 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.

Note that you explicitly have to forget entities even if they are loaded/initialized through an intent. The reason is that you might use the entities elsewhere and you may not want to forget them automatically. It is possible to have onResponse handlers with intents on different levels in the state hierarchy.

Note how IntelliJ will display the file path as furhatos.app.testenv.nlu, which is purely a way to compactly display nested folders. The created folder should not be named with periods, like shown in the screenshot. If you do not have a resources folder set up, you will have to create it and mark it as the resource root folder in IntelliJ.


In the most basic terms, NLP looks at what was said, and NLU looks at what was meant. People can say identical things in numerous ways, and they may make mistakes when writing or speaking. They may use the wrong words, write fragmented sentences, and misspell or mispronounce words. NLP can analyze text and speech, performing a wide range of tasks that focus primarily on language structure. However, it will not tell you what was meant or intended by specific language. NLU allows computer applications to infer intent from language even when the written or spoken language is flawed.

what does nlu mean

Read more about https://www.metadialog.com/ here.

What is NLU in business?

With the help of natural language understanding (NLU) and machine learning, computers can automatically analyze data in seconds, saving businesses countless hours and resources when analyzing troves of customer feedback.

Is NLP good or bad?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a coaching methodology that was devised in the 1970s by Richard Bandler, John Grinder and Frank Pucelik. However, many evidence-based scientists and psychologists have been intensely critical of NLP, with some even adding it to a list of so-called “discredited treatments”.