Natural language generation for dummies

What is Natural Language Generation (NLG)?

Natural Language Generation is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that focuses on creating human-like text or speech from structured data.

In other words, it’s the technology that enables machines to “speak” and generate human-readable text. The goal is to make interactions with computers more natural and intuitive, as well as to automate the generation of text for various applications.

How Does NLG Work?

At its core, NLG involves processing data and transforming it into natural language. The process typically involves three main steps:

  1. Data Collection: NLG systems gather and process the data they need to create text. This data can be numbers, facts, or any other form of structured information.
  2. Text Planning: The system organizes the data into a coherent structure, deciding on the order in which information should be presented and the overall narrative.
  3. Text Realization: The system generates the actual text based on the structure created in the text planning phase. It chooses appropriate words, phrases, and syntax to convey the information in a way that’s easily understood by humans.

Various algorithms and approaches can be used to achieve these steps, from rule-based systems to machine learning and deep learning techniques.

In recent years, advanced models like GPT-3 and GPT-4 have made significant strides in improving the quality and versatility of NLG.

Popular Applications of NLG

NLG has a wide range of practical applications across various industries. Some popular uses include:

  1. Chatbots: Chatbots use NLG to simulate human conversation, providing customer support, answering queries, or offering recommendations.
  2. Automated Journalism: News organizations use NLG to automatically generate news articles or summaries, particularly for data-driven stories like sports scores or financial reports.
  3. Personal Assistants: Virtual personal assistants like Siri or Alexa use NLG to interact with users, providing information or executing tasks through natural language commands.
  4. Content Generation: NLG can generate creative content, such as marketing copy, social media posts, or even short stories, helping to save time and effort.
  5. Translation: NLG plays a crucial role in machine translation, converting text from one language to another while maintaining the meaning and context.


Natural Language Generation is a fascinating and rapidly evolving field that allows machines to communicate more naturally with humans.

By automating the creation of human-like text, NLG has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with technology and simplify complex tasks.

As NLG models continue to advance, we can expect to see even more impressive and practical applications in the future.

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