Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages; it began as a branch of artificial intelligence. In theory, natural language processing is a very attractive method of human–computer interaction.
The challenge of NLP is to build systems that can distinguish in the input language as many significantly different meanings as are relevant to the applications of interest; to interpret correctly as large a variety of linguistic expressions of these meanings as would naturally occur; and to do so in as many task settings as possible, with the computational resources available.
"Natural Language Processing, often coupled with automatic speech recognition, is quickly becoming a commodity for widely spoken languages with large data sets. Research is now shifting to develop refined and capable systems that are able to interact with people through dialog, not just react to stylized requests. Great strides have also been made in machine translation among different languages, with more real-time person-to-person exchanges on the near horizon."
- "Overview" section: More Than Screen Deep: Toward Every-Citizen Interfaces to the Nation's Information Infrastructure, at 86.
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