While large language models (LLMs) have become synonymous with advanced AI capabilities, their integration into various business and technological domains is often accompanied by significant costs.

These costs arise from the extensive computational resources required for training and running these models. However, traditional natural language processing (NLP) techniques offer a viable pathway to reduce these costs while maintaining efficiency and effectiveness. Let’s discuss how traditional NLP methods can be synergized with LLMs to create a cost-effective yet powerful solution.

Understanding the cost implications of LLMs

LLMs are data-hungry giants requiring substantial computational power for training and inference. This computational demand increases operational costs, especially for continuous, large-scale applications. Moreover, the complexity of these models often necessitates specialized hardware, adding to the expense.

The role of traditional NLP techniques

Traditional NLP techniques encompass a range of methods developed before the advent of deep learning-based LLMs. These include rule-based systems, statistical models, and simpler machine learning algorithms. While these traditional methods might need a more advanced contextual understanding of LLMs, they are lightweight and require significantly less computational power.

Now, let’s dive into four complementary strategies organizations can use to reduce costs.

  1. Pre-processing with traditional methods: Utilizing traditional NLP methods for initial data processing can reduce the load on LLMs. Tasks like tokenization, stemming and basic entity recognition can be efficiently handled by simpler algorithms, reserving the LLM's power for more complex analysis.
  2. Creating hybrid systems: Creating hybrid systems where traditional NLP methods handle routine tasks, while LLMs are reserved for tasks requiring deeper linguistic understanding and context, can be a cost-effective strategy. This approach allows businesses to use the strengths of both, optimizing resource allocation.
  3. Using efficient data filtering: Traditional NLP can filter and preprocess data before it's fed into an LLM. This step ensures that only relevant data is processed by the more resource-intensive LLMs, reducing computational waste.
  4. Employing feature extraction: Employing traditional NLP techniques for basic feature extraction can significantly reduce the complexity of the tasks that LLMs need to perform. This streamlined approach can lead to faster processing times and lower costs.

Balancing cost and performance

Finding the right balance is the key to successfully integrating traditional NLP techniques with LLMs. It's important to identify which task components can be effectively handled by more straightforward NLP methods without compromising the overall quality of the output.

While LLMs represent a significant advancement in AI capabilities, their cost implications must be addressed. Organizations can mitigate these costs by integrating traditional NLP techniques intelligently, creating a sustainable model for deploying advanced AI solutions.

This synergistic approach optimizes expenses and paves the way for more accessible and widespread use of AI technologies in diverse industries.

What is natural language processing and why does it matter?


About Author

Marinela Profi

Product Strategy Lead for AI Solutions

Marinela Profi is a Product Strategy Lead for Artificial Intelligence solutions at SAS, across the areas of market engagement, strategy, messaging, content and product readiness. Over the past 6 years, she also worked as a data scientist, analyzing data and developing AI models, to drive AI implementation within the following industries: Banking, Manufacturing, Insurance, Government and Energy. Marinela has a Bachelor’s in Econometrics, a Master of Science in Statistics, and Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Marinela enjoys sharing her journey on LinkedIn, and on the main stage, to help those interested in a career in data and tech.

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