Examples of semantics: how semantic technology simulates the human brain
For a better understanding of what semantics is and how it works, let’s look at some simple examples of semantics in the context of how the human brain works.
The average human brain has a general knowledge of the world, and it uses this knowledge, as well as that of past previous experience to understand words and the relationships between words and sentences; semantic technology can do the same.
While we know a lot about how the brain operates, even centuries of study and research have not been able to fully unravel all of its functions, such as how it stores and retrieves memory. As we’ll see in the examples of semantics below, semantic technology takes inspiration from the way the human brain processes information to understand a text.
Inspired by this infographic that maps how different areas of the brain handle different tasks, we created a simple and unscientific parallel representation of how semantics approaches the processing of a text.
Examples of semantics: How semantics processes a text
● External stimuli: Information sources—text documents, web pages, social media and emails, etc.—while potentially diverse in terms of content and context, are nonetheless information that must be ‘processed’ to be understood.
● Neurons: These are the pieces that make up the semantic algorithm, which allows information to pass through the various stages of linguistic analysis. It is through this advanced algorithm that semantic technology is able to understand language in the same way that people do.
● Hippocampus: Extracting and storing concepts requires determining the semantic context for the proper disambiguation of terms.
● Just as our brains pull from previously read or memorized information when we read, semantic technology is able to accurately determine the context of information, and therefore, interpret it with the precise meaning.
● Cerebellum: In semantics, this is the semantic network, a conceptual map made up of words and all of their different meanings and connections to other words. This constitutes the “seat” of learning, knowledge and all the functions involved in language comprehension.
● Amygdala: Just as this area identifies emotions and feelings, semantics takes cues from language and context to understand when a text conveys feelings of fear or happiness, sadness or satisfaction.
With these modules and examples of semantics we can understand why semantic technology is the most advanced approach to language processing, making many practical applications possible, from search engines to natural language interfaces, the extraction of specific data to the categorization of content. For those more complex tasks, we’ll still need to use our brains!