In Star Trek, the crew communicated with the ship's computer by speaking. Why can't we just ask computers our questions? Well, in order to do this, the computer must recognize what language we are using and then interpret what we say into a question it understands. It must then find the answer and then phrase the response in our language. Today's computers do not understand our language. But researchers are getting closer to finding ways for them to communicate with humans and understand the hidden meanings in our speech.
The goals of natural language programming are to create a system that can understand and speak human language as well as a human. When we are able to use our language to speak with computers, it will revolutionize the way we use them. In the meantime, grammar checkers in word processing software and phone systems that understand simple words and phrases make our work with computers easier.