A definition of Natural Language Generation

NLG is the technology computers use to communicate with humans in ways that they can understand. It enables machines to produce useful documents like written reports and news articles.

On a more technical level, NLG can be defined as software that turns data into an easy-to-understand narrative for humans. What’s important here is that it does so at an incredible speed. For this reason, NGL is often used to turn large databases into written recommendations that help business leaders make better decisions.

NLG is different from Natural Language Processing (NLP) though. Whereas NLG is the language through which computers express themselves to humans, NLP is how computers interpret the language people use.
Want to know more about NLP? Wise up with our article, What is natural language processing?

How NLG is used

Business reports

Because NLG technology can summarise large sets of data very fast, it’s ideal for generating reports that not only display data, like financial figures, for instance, but also explain what those figures mean for the business.

These documents can often be created at much faster speeds than humans are able to. It means leaders can get their insights sooner and the teams that used to do the number crunching are now free to do other things.

Automated news articles and blog posts

Publishers like the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press have said that machine learning-powered algorithms will be responsible for some of their journalistic reporting.

Systems like these could potentially use NLG to create news reports based on financial or sports data. It could take care of the repetitive, labour-intensive tasks like election results reporting, giving political journalists more time to tackle investigative and in-depth reporting projects.

Some companies are also using NLG to create summaries, like descriptions of neighbourhoods, for instance, which prospective homeowners can use when they look for property.

It’s important to remember that any AI technology, whether it uses NLG or other forms of machine learning, relies on humans. Without human involvement, these technologies wouldn’t exist. Nor would they have a purpose.
Learn how AI will allow humans to become better at what they do in our article, Three ways to be a better human with AI.
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