Whilst the general public might not know what natural language processing (NLP) is, it's one of the areas of AI that most impacts in our every day lives. When you talk to your smart phone or another voice assistant, when you engage with chatbots online, in applications like google translate, and in online search, your answers are delivered almost instantly. This is an incredibly effective means of information discovery and communication, but these services are useless unless they understand what you're saying.

The machine needs to be able to analyse, understand and generate a replication of human speech to provide the optimum user experience. At First Utility, the NLP team are working to enhance customer service improving their conversational agent, using cutting-edge NLP.  The company are currently working on text-based AI assistants by developing a conversational agent called Ask First. Currently, one of the main challenges they're facing is how to better handle the query intent classification, and they're working through this by experimenting with different approaches based on deep learning, word embeddings and reinforcement learning.