Behind the chat interface there are a number of processes making these systems work, a couple of which are Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU).
NLP is a particular machine learning and artificial intelligence approach that is used to process unstructured language data such as conversations, paragraphs of text etc so that it can be converted into a data model which can be understood by a computer.
NLU is generally considered a subset of NLP aimed at making a computer understand what the unstructured language or text actually means. The text is broken down into what the intent or action of what the text is trying to say and also entities or verbs referred to.
The diagram below shows where NLP and NLU could be used effectively.
Chatbots, auto-generation of keywords, assignment validation, understanding news and articles and sentiment analysis (positive or negative sentiment) are all current examples of where NLP and NLU might be used.
Deakin currently utilise these technologies in our Genie app but are also investigating how they can be applied to a range of teaching & learning and smart campus experiences.