Why Natural Language Processing (NLP) Is Important: A Discussion With Alex Aoun

Alex Aoun
Alex Aoun
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer
Why Natural Language Processing (NLP) Is Important: A Discussion With Alex Aoun

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a form of AI that enables computers to extract language from unstructured text. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, “The Global Natural Language Processing (NLP) market size [is set] to grow from USD 11.6 Billion in 2020 to USD 35.1 Billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3% during the forecast period.” 

Valital’s chief product officer, Alex Aoun, explains why NLP is so important to business today and how it works.


What is NLP and why should we care about it?

“Natural language processing is related to understanding the human language. It’s about the AI understanding the relationship between words, the meaning behind words, and the contexts the words would be used in. NLP is about trying to get a machine brain to work the same way as a human brain when it comes to language. With this, the machine brain can decipher, organize, and understand text data. 

Natural Language Processing AI can process language more rapidly than humans, and as it analyzes texts, this technology can understand what is communicated, either through speech or writing.

You might ask yourself why you should care about this if you will never work with or use this type of AI. The truth is that if you are using the internet or if you own the latest gadgets, you are using NLP technology every day. It’s in your phone through Siri, for example, or it’s on the internet, such as when the autocomplete feature fills in your search on search engines. As technology develops, we’ll continue to see NLP touching many different markets.”


How does it work?

“NLP is similar to how humans think and learn. Humans start by learning the basics. We first learn words, then sentences. From there, a level of complexity is built. The same can be said for NLP. 

This type of technology is all about statistics and probability. From the meaning in the language of the text, we extract the value for each word and we extract the value between the relationship of the words. With statistics and probability, we can understand what that means by comparing this data to other data sets or studies. We build a mathematical set of rules, and with statistics and probability, we can say that there is more probability that a word would have this particular meaning in this specific context.

That is why NLP is so complex, because you need data to build your NLP algorithms, and each algorithm is different depending on how you train this AI to function.”


How does Valital use NLP and what’s the value to clients? 

“Valital combines human and artificial intelligence to help organizations identify, detect, analyze, and mitigate reputation risks. More specifically, Valital relies on NLP to learn human language and uses content and context to perform real-time search and pulse analyses of online media, blogs, and tweets, flagging misconducts related to universally recognized misbehaviours: discrimination, financial crime/fraud, harassment, violence, and addiction.

Let’s say you are looking for a company name, the AI not only looks for the name of the company in the text, but it also extracts all of the organization in the text. We are extracting all of the dates, all of the names, and all of the different locations in the text.

With Valital’s responsible AI-powered intelligent platform, organizations can detect and mitigate possible risks by monitoring and analyzing adverse online news on potential and current business stakeholders. Clients can use this evidence-based information as part of due diligence processes related to client acceptance or KYC, third-party verification or insider risk. NLP eliminates the inefficiencies and inconsistencies emblematic in manual research, freeing up resources to focus on more high value work.

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