Dev Thoughts

Musings from my development journey.


Syntax isn't everything: NLP for Rubyists


Talk from Aja Hammerly on Natural Language Processing for the machine learning track at Rails Conf 2017.

What is NLP?

NLP is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages.


Bad NLP requires too much specificity and requires a specific structure in order to be properly processed.

Uses for NLP

  • Devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, etc.
  • Accessibility
  • Voice interfaces for automated systems

Challenges for NLP

  • Words that have multiple meanings
  • Homophones
  • Languages don't have a computational grammar
  • Exaggerations (starving, freezing, etc)
  • Sarcasm

History of NLP

  • Leibniz & Descartes - automated translation
  • The Turing Test

Examples of NLP

  • Sentiment Analysis (Twitter emoji analysis tool for gauging happiness)

Ruby Gem for NLP


gem install google-cloud-language