Natural Language Processing with AWS AI Services book cover is on the left; images of the two authors, Mona Mona, top, an AI/ML and former Amazon Web Service employee, and Premkumar “Prem” Rangarajan, bottom, an artificial intelligence/machine learning specialist at AWS, are on the right
Natural Language Processing with AWS AI Services was written by Mona Mona, an artificial intelligence/machine learning specialist and former Amazon Web Service employee, and Premkumar “Prem” Rangarajan, an AI/ML specialist at AWS.

New hands-on guide demonstrates how to implement natural language processing business solutions

Natural Language Processing with AWS AI Services seeks to demystify NLP for just about anyone.

In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ali Baba overhears one of the thieves utter a magic phrase, “Open sesame,” which opens the mouth of a cave containing treasures.

Premkumar “Prem” Rangarajan, an artificial intelligence/machine learning specialist at Amazon Web Services (AWS), remembers his father reading this story to him as a child. “When I began working with artificial intelligence [AI] and natural language processing [NLP], this story came back to me,” he said. “I realized it was a fictional example of voice activation!”

Rangarajan says that today, AI/NLP can seem almost as magical as the secret code from the folktale.

Artificial intelligence is no longer an inaccessible technology. It’s no longer a career that requires us to study for 10 or 15 years of our lives and get multiple PhDs to begin.
Premkumar “Prem” Rangarajan

“I mean, how do we even make computers, which can only understand ones and zeros, understand your voice?” he asks. “How does it understand that this sound means this with all of the tonal inflections, the accents, the languages? It was so fascinating, and that’s when it began for me. I’m fascinated with using voice for practical applications.”

In an effort to demystify some of that “magic”, Rangarajan and Mona Mona, an AI/ML specialist at Google and former AWS employee, wrote a book. Natural Language Processing with AWS AI Services is a hands-on guide which the authors say can help get any IT professional implementing AI/machine learning solutions before the monthly calendar flips to a new page.

“Artificial intelligence is no longer an inaccessible technology,” says Rangarajan. “It’s no longer a career that requires us to study for 10 or 15 years of our lives and get multiple PhDs to begin.

“Now you can actually understand and choose what you want and directly infuse these algorithms into your applications and build very powerful AI solutions. You don’t have to worry that if you have an idea today it will become a reality a year down the line. It can become a reality in one week, in two weeks.”

Spotting a need

Rangarajan says one area where artificial intelligence and machine learning can generate immediate business intelligence is in customer call centers.

“How can we improve the customer satisfaction scores? How can we understand whether the customer's issue was actually addressed in those conversations? How can we make the agents more efficient? How can we improve call closure rates?” he says. “We have the ability to use AI services to add intelligence to those conversations and to ensure that we address what the customer wants.”

Related content
New features go beyond conventional effect estimation by attributing events to individual components of complex systems.

Mona says soon after she began working at AWS, she recognized the power of the technology stack. “When I saw the power of these tools and I was introduced to some very interesting customer cases, I realized these services can provide natural language processing solutions quickly. You can build a chat bot, or an AI translation solution, or use NLP to do social media analytics. It’s all available to you.”

The authors had previously cowritten about a dozen AWS blog posts on AI/NLP, and from the comments they began to see a need for a new kind of book on NLP.

“We realized that a lot of books talk about the math and the science behind NLP, but there's not a lot of books that showed you how to apply the technology and actually solve the real-world need,” Rangarajan says.

A comprehensive lesson

Natural Language Processing with AWS AI Services begins with an introduction to AWS AI/NLP services, including chapters on AI/NLP stack products such as Amazon Textract and Amazon Comprehend.

The second section of the book demonstrates how NLP can be applied to business solutions, such as improving customer service, monetizing media content, extracting metadata from documents, and specific solutions for healthcare.

Related content
Matt Taddy, vice president of Amazon’s Private Brands business, is the coauthor of Modern Business Analytics: Practical Data Science for Decision Making, a primer for those who want to gain the skills to use data science to help make decisions in business and beyond.

Finally, in section three, the book provides a hands-on guide to putting these solutions into production, including creating workflows and "building secure, reliable, and efficient NLP solutions”. In addition to the book, Rangarajan suggests anyone interested in AI/NLP to set up a free AWS tier account.

“The innovation needed to utilize artificial intelligence and natural language processing is already done by AWS with the AI services stack,” Rangarajan says. “You have AWS Comprehend, Amazon Translate, Amazon Transcribe, et cetera. All you have to do is make an API call to be able to access the intelligence behind those machine learning models.”

Mona notes that the book can be used in different ways by people with different roles within an organization.

Automate document processing using AWS machine learning

“Suppose I'm a business executive. I don't want to read all the code. You could just read the appropriate business problem and solution chapter, the introduction, and the architecture proposed and summary. Then you can pass it on to your technical peers and say, ‘Now I see how it is done and I think this is what we need. Please go and build it,’” she says.

“On the other hand, if I'm a technical person, I will have a different perspective. I will literally read all the code. I can view the videos we have created for each code in the book. So, if you want to implement an end-to-end solution which your manager has given you, now you can go and implement it.”

A resource for career change

Rangarajan says the book is a good primer for someone wanting to transition to focus to AI/NLP, just as he did. He began as an IBM AS 400 programmer and then moved on to become an enterprise application integration architect. During that time he became interested in doing more with machine learning, which led to him joining AWS. Soon he developed an interest in NLP.

Around that time, Rangarajan was asked to work on a project for the celebration of the opening of a new AWS tech hub in Houston. He created an NLP project.

“There was something called ‘Simple Beer Service,’ and this provided an opportunity to upgrade it with Alexa. So, you say to Alexa, ‘Pour me a beer,’ and you use the password. Alexa will then control a Raspberry Pi device, open the beer lines, and pour the beer for you.”

That project (which drew the attention of Houston’s mayor) helped to cement his interest in pursuing NLP — and that interest eventually led to this book. Rangarajan said his own experiences helped shape his approach to the book.

“The book is good for students or working professionals who are interested in moving to an AI/machine learning career. That’s something that’s in demand, so it can be a profitable career move,” Rangarajan says.

The book, combined with the AWS Free Tier accounts, AWS Machine Learning University video tutorials, and, of course, the Amazon AI/NLP technology stack, can help ease entry into the field.

“Amazon's philosophy is that anyone can do this,” Mona says. “Even if you have no basic coding experience, you can still create a scalable application using these AI services. That is the goal, that any student or any IT professional can easily pick these services and implement infused, beautiful, innovative solutions and applications in a week's time. You don’t have to spend a lot of time learning.”

Looking ahead, Rangarajan is writing another book on cloud-native machine learning on AWS. “It’s going to be broad-scale AI and ML and cover the machine learning workflow. So, we are talking about algorithms, neural networks, and how different personnel use machine learning and AI within organizations.”

His mission to help others unlock the potential treasures of machine learning is certainly a goal of which Ali Baba would approve.

Related content

US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
LU, Luxembourg
Are you a talented and inventive scientist with a strong passion about modern data technologies and interested to improve business processes, extracting value from the data? Would you like to be a part of an organization that is aiming to use self-learning technology to process data in order to support the management of the procurement function? The Global Procurement Technology, as a part of Global Procurement Operations, is seeking a skilled Data Scientist to help build its future data intelligence in business ecosystem, working with large distributed systems of data and providing Machine Learning (ML) and Predictive Modeling expertise. You will be a member of the Data Engineering and ML Team, joining a fast-growing global organization, with a great vision to transform the Procurement field, and become the role model in the market. This team plays a strategic role supporting the core Procurement business domains as well as it is the cornerstone of any transformation and innovation initiative. Our mission is to provide a high-quality data environment to facilitate process optimization and business digitalization, on a global scale. We are supporting business initiatives, including but not limited to, strategic supplier sourcing (e.g. contracting, negotiation, spend analysis, market research, etc.), order management, supplier performance, etc. We are seeking an individual who can thrive in a fast-paced work environment, be collaborative and share knowledge and experience with his colleagues. You are expected to deliver results, but at the same time have fun with your teammates and enjoy working in the company. In Amazon, you will find all the resources required to learn new skills, grow your career, and become a better professional. You will connect with world leaders in your field and you will be tackling Data Science challenges to ensure business continuity, by taking the right decisions for your customers. As a Data Scientist in the team, you will: -be the subject matter expert to support team strategies that will take Global Procurement Operations towards world-class predictive maintenance practices and processes, driving more effective procurement functions, e.g. supplier segmentation, negotiations, shipping supplies volume forecast, spend management, etc. -have strong analytical skills and excel in the design, creation, management, and enterprise use of large data sets, combining raw data from different sources -provide technical expertise to support the development of ML models to facilitate intelligent digital services, such as Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Negotiations platform -cooperate closely with different groups of stakeholders, e.g. data/software engineers, product/program managers, analysts, senior leadership, etc. to evaluate business needs and objectives to set up the best data management environment -create and share with audiences of varying levels technical papers and presentations -deal with ambiguity, prioritizing needs, and delivering results in a dynamic environment Basic qualifications -Master’s Degree in Computer Science/Engineering, Informatics, Mathematics, or a related technical discipline -3+ years of industry experience in data engineering/science, business intelligence or related field -3+ years experience in algorithm design, engineering and implementation for very-large scale applications to solve real problems -Very good knowledge of data modeling and evaluation -Very good understanding of regression modeling, forecasting techniques, time series analysis, machine-learning concepts such as supervised and unsupervised learning, classification, random forest, etc. -SQL and query performance tuning skills Preferred qualifications -2+ years of proficiency in using R, Python, Scala, Java or any modern language for data processing and statistical analysis -Experience with various RDBMS, such as PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, MySQL, etc. -Experience architecting Big Data and ML solutions with AWS products (Redshift, DynamoDB, Lambda, S3, EMR, SageMaker, Lex, Kendra, Forecast etc.) -Experience articulating business questions and using quantitative techniques to arrive at a solution using available data -Experience with agile/scrum methodologies and its benefits of managing projects efficiently and delivering results iteratively -Excellent written and verbal communication skills including data visualization, especially in regards to quantitative topics discussed with non-technical colleagues
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, WA, Seattle
Amazon is seeking an experienced, self-directed data scientist to support the research and analytical needs of Amazon Web Services' Sales teams. This is a unique opportunity to invent new ways of leveraging our large, complex data streams to automate sales efforts and to accelerate our customers' journey to the cloud. This is a high-visibility role with significant impact potential. You, as the right candidate, are adept at executing every stage of the machine learning development life cycle in a business setting; from initial requirements gathering to through final model deployment, including adoption measurement and improvement. You will be working with large volumes of structured and unstructured data spread across multiple databases and can design and implement data pipelines to clean and merge these data for research and modeling. Beyond mathematical understanding, you have a deep intuition for machine learning algorithms that allows you to translate business problems into the right machine learning, data science, and/or statistical solutions. You’re able to pick up and grasp new research and identify applications or extensions within the team. You’re talented at communicating your results clearly to business owners in concise, non-technical language. Key job responsibilities • Work with a team of analytics & insights leads, data scientists and engineers to define business problems. • Research, develop, and deliver machine learning & statistical solutions in close partnership with end users, other science and engineering teams, and business stakeholders. • Use AWS services like SageMaker to deploy scalable ML models in the cloud. • Examples of projects include modeling usage of AWS services to optimize sales planning, recommending sales plays based on historical patterns, and building a sales-facing alert system using anomaly detection.
US, WA, Seattle
We are a team of doers working passionately to apply cutting-edge advances in deep learning in the life sciences to solve real-world problems. As a Senior Applied Science Manager you will participate in developing exciting products for customers. Our team rewards curiosity while maintaining a laser-focus in bringing products to market. Competitive candidates are responsive, flexible, and able to succeed within an open, collaborative, entrepreneurial, startup-like environment. At the leading edge of both academic and applied research in this product area, you have the opportunity to work together with a diverse and talented team of scientists, engineers, and product managers and collaborate with others teams. Location is in Seattle, US Embrace Diversity Here at Amazon, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust Balance Work and Life Our team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives Mentor & Grow Careers Our team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future. Key job responsibilities • Manage high performing engineering and science teams • Hire and develop top-performing engineers, scientists, and other managers • Develop and execute on project plans and delivery commitments • Work with business, data science, software engineer, biological, and product leaders to help define product requirements and with managers, scientists, and engineers to execute on them • Build and maintain world-class customer experience and operational excellence for your deliverables
US, Virtual
The Amazon Economics Team is hiring Interns in Economics. We are looking for detail-oriented, organized, and responsible individuals who are eager to learn how to work with large and complicated data sets. Some knowledge of econometrics, as well as basic familiarity with Stata, R, or Python is necessary. Experience with SQL, UNIX, Sawtooth, and Spark would be a plus. These are full-time positions at 40 hours per week, with compensation being awarded on an hourly basis. You will learn how to build data sets and perform applied econometric analysis at Internet speed collaborating with economists, data scientists and MBAʼs. These skills will translate well into writing applied chapters in your dissertation and provide you with work experience that may help you with placement. Roughly 85% of interns from previous cohorts have converted to full time economics employment at Amazon. If you are interested, please send your CV to our mailing list at econ-internship@amazon.com.
US, WA, Seattle
Amazon internships are full-time (40 hours/week) for 12 consecutive weeks with start dates in May - July 2023. Our internship program provides hands-on learning and building experiences for students who are interested in a career in hardware engineering. This role will be based in Seattle, and candidates must be willing to work in-person. Corporate Projects (CPT) is a team that sits within the broader Corporate Development organization at Amazon. We seek to bring net-new, strategic projects to life by working together with customers and evolving projects from ZERO-to-ONE. To do so, we deploy our resources towards proofs-of-concept (POCs) and pilot programs and develop them from high-level ideas (the ZERO) to tangible short-term results that provide validating signal and a path to scale (the ONE). We work with our customers to develop and create net-new opportunities by relentlessly scouring all of Amazon and finding new and innovative ways to strengthen and/or accelerate the Amazon Flywheel. CPT seeks an Applied Science intern to work with a diverse, cross-functional team to build new, innovative customer experiences. Within CPT, you will apply both traditional and novel scientific approaches to solve and scale problems and solutions. We are a team where science meets application. A successful candidate will be a self-starter comfortable with ambiguity, strong attention to detail, and the ability to work in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. As an Applied Science Intern, you will own the design and development of end-to-end systems. You’ll have the opportunity to create technical roadmaps, and drive production level projects that will support Amazon Science. You will work closely with Amazon scientists, and other science interns to develop solutions and deploy them into production. The ideal scientist must have the ability to work with diverse groups of people and cross-functional teams to solve complex business problems.