This blog post is part of a series of posts covering the technologies that Agora Brands Group uses to create avatars. To find all the articles in this blog series, Google search “InteracTech Series – Agora Brands Group” or use the hashtag “#InteracTech” on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.


Over the next seven weeks, we will be talking about the innovative technologies that give substance to Agora Brands Group avatars. We will start with one of the most powerful features: Natural Language Processing.


What is Natural Language Processing?


Natural Language Processing


Natural Language Processing (NLP) combines developments from linguistics, computer science, information engineering, and artificial intelligence to enable computers to understand the things people ask of them. You probably use NLP every day without knowing it.  When you use a search engine you are deploying NLP.  Search is all about NLP and NLP is a core foundational technology in search.  In its most basic sense, NLP aims to understand language in the same way that humans do. This technology is what enables us to give voice commands to computer assistants like Siri and Alexa. Natural Language Processing focuses on important fields of linguistics  including syntax, semantics, discourse, speech, and dialogue.  Some refer to the filed as computational linguistics.


Why is it Important?


The greatest benefit of NLP is its understanding of context. Languages are filled with words and phrases that imply multiple meanings when spoken. Rather than interpreting each word individually, NLP focuses on understanding words as they relate to the other words in a sentence or phrase, which eliminates possible confusion of word meaning. Proper NLP engineering distinguishes between a voice command to send an email to a “dear friend” from a “deer friend,” as well as understanding informal styles of speech. This allows users to speak to computer assistants in a natural way, encouraging efficiency and positive interaction.  A more complex example follows:

The trophy doesn’t fit into the brown suitcase because it’s too large.

The trophy doesn’t fit into the brown suitcase because it’s too small.

To succeed, an NLP system must figure out which of two options the pronoun refers to. In this case, it would need to select “trophy” for the first and “suitcase” for the second to correctly solve the problem.


Benefit to Agora Brands Group Avatars

With the power of Natural Language Processing, customers can converse with Agora Brands Group avatars in the same way they would with a human customer service representative. Natural, realistic interaction is important for our avatars to deliver the best possible customer experience. NLP also enables our avatars to converse with a customer in any of 25 different languages, giving access to millions of customers around the world. Using machine translation, avatars convert customers’ speech into text, identifies the language spoken, and enables the avatar to adjust its own speech to match that of the customer.

Natural Language Processing is a crucial component of our avatar functionality that helps us provide an exceptional customer experience. Agora Brands Group uses many innovative technologies that make our avatars as realistic as possible.  This blog will explore these other technologies over the coming weeks. Next week we will be reviewing Motion Capture technology, which helps our avatars appear and move in a humanistic manner.


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