NLU meaning in ChatBot design

What does NLU mean? I was reviewing VoiceFlow recently and, whilst following an introductory video, I was initially confused by a dropdown option list labelled NLU. There is so much new jargon in the AI field that it’s hard to keep up. What is the meaning of NLU?

NLU stands for Natural Language Understanding and it’s a critical element of AI systems. I regard NLU as having a similar relationship to AI services as browsers do to the internet. Browsers standardised access to websites and ultimately became the standard interface through which people interact with them on both mobiles and desktops. The simplicity, flexibility and standardisation of HTML as a means of displaying and formatting content meant that any human interface could be designed using a set of standard protocols and anyone with a browser could then view the interface without loading and running an obscure bespoke software program.

NLUs allow for something similar with conversational interfaces. They let people ask questions of systems in natural language format which is, afterall, what users are most comfortable and familiar with. AI systems such as LLMs can then parse these questions to work out what the user wants to know in more precise terms so that appropriate answers can be given, or relevant instructions followed.