Context Analysis

by Stephen M. Walker II, Co-Founder / CEO

What is Context Analysis?

Context Analysis in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a process that involves breaking down sentences into components such as n-grams and noun phrases to extract the themes and facets within a collection of unstructured text documents.

The goal of NLP, and by extension context analysis, is to answer four main questions:

  • Who is talking?
  • What are they talking about?
  • How do they feel?
  • Why do they feel that way?

The process of context analysis can involve various techniques. For instance, n-grams, which are contiguous sequences of n items from a given sample of text or speech, can be used for basic context analysis. Stop words, which are commonly used words (such as "the", "a", "an", "in") that a search engine has been programmed to ignore, can be used to clean up n-gram analysis. Noun phrase extraction is another technique used in context analysis, which involves identifying the noun phrases in a text, providing more context than individual words.

Context analysis also involves theme extraction, which is the process of identifying and extracting themes or topics in a text. Relevancy scoring can be used in theme extraction to determine the relevance of a theme in a text.

Context analysis is valuable because it allows data analysts and others to make better-informed decisions and recommendations. It's used in various applications, from analyzing news headlines to improving the performance and accuracy of NLP models.

Understanding Context Analysis

By utilizing ML algorithms, Contextual AI systems can summarize articles, answer questions, translate languages, and improve data organization and predictions. These systems are instrumental in enhancing customer experiences through chatbots and virtual assistants and play a significant role in healthcare by analyzing electronic health records for better diagnosis and treatment planning.

Despite its benefits, Contextual AI faces challenges such as high implementation and maintenance costs, the need for regular updates, and limitations in understanding human emotions and subtleties, which can lead to misinterpretations.

In natural language processing, context is essential for AI to discern the correct meaning of words and phrases. Large language models (LLMs) use word embeddings to represent words as vectors in a semantic space, adjusting word meanings based on surrounding words. For instance, "bank" can represent a financial institution or a riverbank, depending on the context. However, LLMs do not truly understand meaning; they recognize patterns based on statistical relationships.

Ambiguity in language is addressed by AI through context analysis, which helps determine the intended meaning of words with multiple interpretations. For example, "plant" could mean an industrial facility or a living organism, depending on adjacent words like "factory" or "soil." While LLMs can build connections between words to indicate meaning, they struggle with complex ambiguities that require a deeper understanding.

The limitations of context analysis include its inability to fully resolve complex ambiguities, the risk of perpetuating biases from training data, and the failure to handle changes in context or figurative language. AI systems lack the broad world knowledge humans possess, making context analysis a helpful yet limited technique. Research in commonsense reasoning aims to overcome these challenges.

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