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Towards Engineered Scriptwriting—Natural Language Processing by DSC

DSC Manipal organised a Natural Language Processing (NLP) Workshop for the students of MIT on 4th April 2019. The workshop aimed at introducing its participants to script generation using NLP and deep learning, by which the participants could generate scripts from the show Rick and Morty.

The event commenced with an introductory presentation through which the organisers explained the concept of Natural Language Processing, a tool focused on enabling computers to understand the human language. “To solve a problem of natural language, the language needs to be modelled,” said Sarthak Mittal, the speaker at the event. Addressing the inability of computers to understand the meaning of words, he explained how each word of the human language acts as a single token for the computer and using that a model or representation of these words is created for the computer to understand.

The organisers talked about Google’s WORD2VEC, a tool which can accurately predict the meaning of a word by studying the context in which the word has been used. Based on the context, it can also find other words associated with it.  As a  demonstration of the same, the organiser then typed ‘Narendra Modi’, and the result showed words like ‘BJP’, ‘Advani’ among other related words. Its functionality to predict the similarity between to words was shown as well.

After the attendees were told about neural and recurrent neural networks and the difference between the two, the workshop took a practical approach. The participants learnt how to use the above concepts to generate scripts. The organisers had already prepared a code for it, which they shared using Jupiter notebook. Running the code, the participants then generated scripts for a popular animated American sitcom, Rick & Morty. Since the input of these scripts was minimal, the model was trained to produce the most basic outputs. The attendees were given suggestions as to how these scripts could be made sensible and more refined by changing certain parameters.

As the workshop concluded, the participants left the venue with better knowledge about NLP which they felt would be instrumental as they learn more about it later,  and apply it in many other ways. “Natural Language Processing is an important aspect in today’s technology, and I believe this workshop was crucial in helping us learn the basics of it,” said Ritwik Agarwal, an attendee at the workshop.

Featured Image Credits: Kim Karney/Fred Hutch