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The Life Science Industry Blog for R&D Professionals

Voice Command and Natural Language Processing’s Impact on a Digital Transformation of Life Sciences

What is Voice Command and Natural Language Processing?

Voice Command and Natural Language Processing is the computer’s understanding of spoken and written language. The ability of voice assistants like Google, Siri, and Alexa to detect human speech, react to it, and carry out voice-based requests is made possible through a process called natural language processing (NLP). NLP is the technology that makes it possible for machines to comprehend and communicate with human speech, however it is not just used for voice interactions. 1

Natural Language Generation (NLG) is another important term. While NLP parses information, NLG brings data together to create language (e.g., content for submission to health authorities).

Industry Trends for This Technology in Life Sciences

More organizations are moving towards the implementation of technology supporting key capabilities such as part-of-speech tagging, parsing, text conversion, pattern matching, etc. These technologies are providing major efficiencies in R&D. Some of the bigger use cases for voice command and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are in the R&D efficiency area with the potential to assist with improving research, lab notebooks, development and regulatory documentation, and the processing of unstructured repositories and text as we standardize, analyze, translate, and/or predict outcomes.

For example:

  • Smart speakers/apps, sensors, chatbots, etc., enhance the patient experience
  • IoT speech recognition and voice commands dynamically capture lab observations into Electronic Lab Notebooks
  • Machine-reading for large amounts of unstructured content helps to support regulatory intelligence and publication search
  • Automated document generation, translation, and redaction  through neural machine language technologies (NLG) can support regulatory authoring and submissions.
  • In the lab, the implementation of a digital lab assistant is eliminating the need for paper/typing notetaking and NLP combined with machine learning capabilities is creating narratives from unstructured content.

Establishing archetypes for these technologies will streamline strategies and accelerate outcomes.

Some Considerations with this Technology for Relevant Technology Selection and NLP Training

  • Toolkits to support the implementation of NLP are available from a variety of open source or commercial locations
  • Neural networks and AI are required to work in conjunction with NLP capabilities to train recognition of speech patterns and common phrases enabling analytics and predictions.
  • Leveraging AI trained vernacular when asking and answering questions enablesend users to sort, filter, and build on previously asked questions utilizing simple, common commands.
  • A plethora of options are currently available for cloud-enabled listening devices, requiring decisions to be made on which devices best fit your organizations needs for voice command capabilities.
  • Consideration should be given to devices based on features like security, privacy, mobility, underlying architecture, NLP capabilities, and connectivity.

Why It Matters to You

In the life sciences industry, voice command and NLP/NLG will begin to play a more significant role in optimizing operations. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the organization understands the possible uses and challenges associated with leveraging this technology.

In this blog we discussed:

  • What voice command and Nature Language Processing is.
  • Some trends with this technology
  • How organizations are leveraging it today and will evolve further into the future

About Astrix

Astrix is the unrivaled market-leader in creating & delivering innovative strategies, solutions, and people to the life science community.  Through world class people, process, and technology, Astrix works with clients to fundamentally improve business & scientific outcomes and the quality of life everywhere. Founded by scientists to solve the unique challenges of the life science community, Astrix offers a growing array of strategic, technical, and staffing services designed to deliver value to clients across their organizations