As the “chatbot wars” continue in Silicon Valley, the growing presence of artificial intelligence (AI) tools specifically designed to generate human-like text has created a buzz. This form of AI, known commonly as natural language processing, is propelling the chatbot revolution and its growing prevalence has left many baffled.
Simply put, natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that enables machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language. Computers don’t typically understand how to interpret human language, so with the help of AI, it can better understand certain patterns in language and generate inquiries that are more natural than traditional queries.
Currently, some of the leading applications of NLP are voice recognition and virtual assistants. Voice recognition technology, like the popular Alexa and Siri, better understand spoken language and generate specific responses. Additionally, virtual personal assistants, like Google Now and Cortana, are able to generate human-like conversations and answers to inquiries, providing personal experiences without ever talking to an actual human.
The aim of many companies is to have computer systems to better comprehend natural language and, in turn, respond with appropriate responses. However, many still struggle with the challenge of when and how to pass off a conversation to a human. In order to do this, AI-driven chatbot must create an atmosphere that is pleasant, comfortable, and “human”.
So, the grand challenge for NLP is the development of systems that are able to converse with people in an effortless and natural way. With progress comes apprehension, and many are wary of the shift to artificial intelligence. While some fear a machine uprising or lack of human jobs, many are excited for how this technology can be used to help business processes run more smoothly and cost effectively.
As companies all over the world continue to invest in this technology, it will be curious to see where the chatbot wars finally lead us.