Natural Language Processing also called NLP, is a branch of artificial intelligence that relates to human and computer interaction, through the use of natural language. The goal of NLP is to read, decipher and decode the meaning of the human language in a way that makes sense.
So, compared to text mining where the goal was to decipher the meaning of the text, we are now focusing on what the intentions are. This is, of course, a much more complicated task.
NLP is a difficult technical discipline because the human language is challenging to decode the meaning of a digital context. There are so many nuances in the language. Just as language contains many levels of abstraction, can be sarcastic, implicit, etc. All such matters can make the decoding of the actual meanings and intent difficult.
You will never have to develop an NLP algorithm for your business yourself. There are specialist companies that provide the service as a service that can integrate with your other AI applications. It will always make sense to use such a service as the development costs of making one yourself will be too high.
In commercial contexts, NLP will most often act as an infrastructure component. For example, in connection with Chatbot, as previously described.
Natural Language Processing is a topic that you must have a technical background to understand. I don’t know now any non-technical books on the matter. So, the best tech book, in my opinion, is “Introduction to Natural Language Processing (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning series)” by the Georgia Tech professor Jacob Eisenstein.