You’ve used natural language processing technology if you’ve ever used predictive text. But it has many more uses than just helping you finish sentences in texts and emails. Find out how your company, your team, and your customers can benefit from it.
This article wasn’t written by a machine. This one, though, was written for The Guardian. This is how: It was helped a lot by something called “Natural Language Processing,” or “NLP.”
Whether you know it or not, NLP is as common as sending a text message to a coworker. In fact, you’ve probably used NLP to choose the right word without even knowing it. NLP is always being used to help people type faster by using predictive text.
Still confused about what NLP is and how it works? Think about it like this: NLP is a bridge between the languages that people and computers speak, which are very different. NLP is a branch of AI that helps computers understand what we write and say. After all, people can be complicated, and we use a lot of euphemisms to hide what we really mean. At the same time, NLP can help people who don’t know much about computers, programming, or data become more comfortable with these things.
NLP is useful for more than just telling Alexa what song to play or putting a period at the end of a Gmail thought. It is becoming an important tool for professionals in a wide range of fields all over the world. In an article for the Harvard Business Review, one author said that NLP was helping him improve the way he did his research. What happened? He could do his work faster and with less trouble, and he didn’t have to give up an ounce of peace of mind.
So, can NLP help your business in any way? To be honest, it probably is, at least a little bit. Think again about how many times predictive text has saved you from having to finish a sentence. But if you want to use NLP more in your everyday work, try one or more of these ideas.
1. NLP can help you make better business decisions
You have a lot of valuable data that keeps getting bigger and bigger. NLP can do more than just sort through the data; it can also help you find trends. NLP can find opportunities by making sense of huge amounts of data. Best of all, you don’t need to know Linux or Java to find the answers you’re looking for. You can just tell a program that uses NLP to do certain tasks for you in your own language.
You might want to know, for example, what day of the week you sell the most widgets. You would ask your NLP assistant to sort through the data instead of doing it yourself or asking a team member to do it for you. How could it be any simpler? Even though NLP software isn’t always perfect, it can be very accurate. Thanks to machine learning, it can also get better at what it does over time.
2. Help your team deal with the effects of a lack of workers
When the Great Resignation is in full swing, it can be hard to find good people. NLP is proving to be a big help for businesses that want to keep going. NLP is being used, for example, to speed up coding in the medical field. In a ReadWrite article, Sishir Reddy, co-CEO of Episource, said that an AI/NLP engine makes it possible for healthcare coding to be done quickly and accurately.
Medical coders will still be in high demand, but there are not enough of them, Reddy said. He said that using new technology can speed up medical coding and “gives human coders more time to fix costly mistakes, increasing accuracy and possibly letting facilities put more resources where they are needed most.”
Because of this, a lot of providers and systems use integrated NLP programs that can analyze statements and do other things. Even when given unstructured text, NLP can pick out key phrases and single words. Then, NLP software can suggest ways to organize the data based on those things and bring out the most important insights. This lets healthcare workers move closer to their goals even when the job market changes.
3. Improve the customer experience at your business
Everyone talks about how important it is to take care of customers. Even though many companies have used NLP to power their chatbots, chatbots are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to customer service and support. NLP can be used to go much deeper and make relationships more personal.
For example, Lilt has integrations that let customer service reps use sophisticated translation software to talk with buyers. Shoppers can talk to a customer service representative in real time no matter where they are. In a global market, being able to translate any sentence right away can be an important way to stand out. Businesses see a lot of value in Lilt’s NLP-focused technology, as shown by the fact that it recently got $55 million in Series C funding.
At the end of the day, it’s likely that NLP systems will never be able to fully mimic humans. They don’t have to, though. As they are, they are incredibly useful assets that can give any business an edge over the competition.