Artificial Intelligence/Is AI and NLP for me?

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Question
Sir,
I'm a fresher in college, doing Computer Science Engineering.I'm deeply attracted to Artificial intelligence and more specifically, NLP. I would like to learn NLP, but not sure if I can even understand those concepts.I keep searching for resources on internet.Will I be able to accomplish something in these subjects, now? That is, will I be able to understand these concepts with a little knowledge in programming(C, C++), Artificial intelligence and NLP?

If in case I should proceed in learning these, what will be best choice to start with? Any book recommendations, Sir?

Answer
I think that anyone who has a strong interest in NLP should be able to learn it.  However, it is extremely difficult, and in fact, there is no real solution at this time.  I think you should look at various college offerings.

There are many good college programs - MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge for example.  Also, do internet searches on terms like 'natural language recognition' 'Speech recognition' 'Vision Processing' 'Robotics'  These searches will tell you a lot about AI.  My area of interest is in Natural Language Understanding.  This is where the computer attempts to understand human language and converse with people in a natural and conversational fashion.  Speech Recognition is a related aspect of this.  There is also vision recognition; Face recognition has gotten a lot of press lately and this area of research has progressed well in recent years.  There is also the idea of an 'Expert System'.  These have been around for a long time.  For example, the system might ask a series of health  questions and then diagnose an illness.  Then there is the entire field of robotics, although this is mostly a combination of all of the above with some engineering and hardware components.  I recommend the LEGO Mindware robotics system if you want to get started with that angle.  

Artificial Intelligence

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Chuck Cosby

Expertise

I can answer questions about speech recognition and natural language understanding. I am particulary strong in knowedge based natural langauge techniques. I cannot answer questions about robotics, nueral nets, prolog, or vision recognition - just speech and natural language.

Experience

I have spent 25 years developing natural language software products. I have never developed speech systems, but I have developed sophisticated interfaces from natural language to speech. I have been working with speech recognition systems also for 25 years.

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