Natural Language Processing (NLP): Bot Talk

In our previous blog, “Cognitive Computing – Are You Afraid of the Bots?” we discussed how some bank institutions are giving their customers a new level of service and experience by implementing cognitive computing technology via chatbots. But, we barely scratched the surface into what and how these chatbots are able to respond to customers.

We thought we should dive a little deeper to explain how Natural Language Processing (NLP) and cognitive computing are digital transformation components used in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and how NLP is the fundamental element of communication or bot talk.

Before we jump in, let’s have a buzzword refresher since we just threw a bunch at you:

  • NLP is the ability of a computer program to understand human speech as it is spoken.
  • Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and NLP to mimic the way the human brain works.
  • AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems.

Without NLP, AI applications that use cognitive computing technology, such as bots, would not be able to respond to questions received from customers. One of the major challenges with only relying on NLP is that human speech is not always direct or precise. There can be ambiguity, regional variations as well as abbreviations or slang influenced by the customer’s social environment.

This is where cognitive computing steps in. Cognitive computing takes all of these factors into consideration and crosses them with existing data and patterns to understand the context of what is being asked. The bot then uses NLP to respond like a human so that a customer feels more like they are talking to another person, rather than a robot.

Another benefit to utilizing bots that leverage enterprise-level AI capabilities is that they have the ability to keep a history of all conversations so that they can anticipate what you need and search through past dialogues to better serve customers. This enables bots to presuppose actions or alerts based on a user’s past context and actions and deliver a more personalized experience.

Perhaps one day the convergence of these technologies will advance to the point that bots will be indiscernible from actual human employees. That’s exactly what happened in the 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner. The robots in the film, referred to as “replicants,” were able to process and mimic natural human speech and behavior so closely that they had to create the Voight-Kampff Test to probe if someone was real or not. Using a series of bizarre questions, outside of normal conversation, the test was designed to elicit a confused/error-like response in the robots:

You can take a version of the test here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/are-you-a-replicant/.

While we’ll have to wait and see if these technologies catch up with Hollywood, they can already make a huge impact on your business and customer service. It’s why we’re thrilled that we can provide a digital transformation platform with AI, cognitive computing and NLP capabilities. In fact, as a way to further scale and deploy advanced, enterprise-level AI capabilities across a broader client base, our parent company Genpact recently acquired Rage Frameworks, a leader in knowledge-based automation technology and services providing AI for the enterprise.

According to Sanjay Srivastava, senior vice president and chief digital officer, Genpact

“As clients evolve their digitization journeys, AI is moving from experimentation into the mainstream. Enterprises are looking for comprehensive solutions which they can successfully deploy without an army of AI specialists.”

To learn more about the acquisition: click here.