Neuro-Symbolic AI: Combining Neural Networks And Symbolic AI For Better Reasoning

Learn about Neuro-Symbolic AI and how combining neural networks and symbolic AI helps in better reasoning.
Neuro-Symbolic AI

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Hello there, Generative AI enthusiasts! Did you know that since 1983, developers and scientists started predicting that deep neural networks would eventually be used for autonomous image recognition and natural language processing? 

Well, Neuro-Symbolic AIs are currently better than and beating cutting-edge deep learning models in areas like image and video reasoning. 

Before moving any further, let us understand the basics of Neuro-Symbolic AI.

What is Neuro-Symbolic AI?

Neural Networks and Symbolic AI are a special aspect of artificial intelligence that naturally combines neural and symbolic AI designs to improve their respective advantages, resulting in a highly functional AI that can execute reasoning, learning, and cognitive modeling. 

Some key components of this include the Integration Layer, Knowledge Base, and Explanation Generator, which can all be included in the UI.

Why is it important to combine neural networks and symbolic AI? 

The combination of symbolic reasoning and neural learning led to many advancements in the field of artificial intelligence. This combination is referred to as the neuro-symbolic AI (Neural Networks and Symbolic AI). Its specialty is that it presents a promising solution to the constraints of traditional AI models and has the potential to upgrade diverse industries.

Symbolic AI is known for its rule-based approach. This technology has long been favoured for its transparency and interpretability. Symbolic AI excels in tasks that demand logical reasoning and explicit knowledge representation. Unfortunately, it struggles with tasks that involve learning from raw data or adapting to complex, dynamic environments.

On the other hand, neural networks, the cornerstone of deep learning, have demonstrated remarkable success in tasks such as image recognition, natural language processing, and game playing. These models can understand and duplicate complicated patterns and charts from large amounts of data. However, they often operate as black boxes, making it challenging to understand and interpret their decisions.

Foundations of Neural Networks and Symbolic AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) includes a wide range of approaches, with Neural Networks and Symbolic AI being the two significant ones.

Deep Dive into Neural Networks

Neural Networks can be described as computational models that are based on the human brain’s neural structure. They are made up of interconnected nodes (neurons) organized in layers. Each neuron receives inputs, applies weights to them, and passes the result through an activation function to produce an output. Through a process called training, neural networks adjust their weights to minimize the difference between predicted and actual outputs, enabling them to learn complex patterns and make predictions.

A key strength of neural networks lies in their capacity to learn from extensive datasets and extract complex patterns, which makes them particularly suitable for tasks like image recognition, natural language processing, and autonomous driving. Deep neural networks have many layers, and they have shown remarkable performance in various domains, often surpassing human capabilities.

Neuro Symbolic Ai Fig.1

Components of Symbolic AI

Symbolic AI, also known as classical AI or symbolic reasoning, relies on symbolic representation and manipulation of knowledge. It operates based on logical rules and symbols, representing concepts and their relationships. 

In symbolic AI systems, knowledge is typically encoded in a formal language such as predicate logic or first-order logic, allowing for reasoning, inference, and decision-making.

Components of symbolic AI include diverse knowledge representation techniques like frames, semantic networks, and ontologies, as well as algorithms for symbolic reasoning such as rule-based systems, expert systems, and theorem provers. 

Symbolic AI excels in domains where explicit reasoning and logical deduction are crucial, such as expert systems in medicine, law, and finance.

Key Differences and Limitations

The primary difference between neural networks and symbolic AI lies in their representation and processing of information. Neural networks learn from data in a bottom-up manner using artificial neurons. 

Despite their impressive performance, understanding why a neural network makes a particular decision (interpretability) can be challenging. This is known as the “black box” problem. 

Symbolic AI relies on explicit, top-down knowledge representation and reasoning. Symbolic AI, more often than not, relies on explicit rules and algorithms to make decisions and solve problems, and humans can easily understand and explain their reasoning.

It provides transparent reasoning processes that help humans to understand and validate the system’s decisions.

Programming Neuro-Symbolic AI: A Step-by-Step Guide

Below are the steps you would take to write a Neuro-Symbolic AI program: 

  1. Define the problem: Identify what the AI system should accomplish (its use case) and also the kind of data it will work with.
  2. Determine the knowledge representation: Choose a suitable representation for the problem domain, such as first-order logic, graphs, or probabilistic models.
  3. Preprocess the data: Arrange the data for use by the AI system. This can include transforming it into a compatible format.
  4. Train the deep learning component: Train a deep neural network to learn the relationships and patterns in the data.
  5. Integrate the symbolic reasoning component: Integrate the symbolic reasoning component into the AI system, such as using a rule-based system or a theorem prover, to perform logical inference and make decisions based on the knowledge representation.
  6. Evaluating the execution: After this, you need to retest the AI system to find how easily and correctly it solves the problem and make any necessary adjustments.
  7. Deploy the system: You then need to deploy the AI system to the necessary environment and closely monitor its performance.

Bridging the Gap: Neuro-Symbolic Integration

Benefits and Challenges of integrating neural networks and symbolic AI

neural networks and symbolic AI


Approaches for Integrating Symbolic AI with Neural Networks

  • Symbols in and out: In this method, Symbols are inputted into an AI system and processed to create new symbols. For example, generative AI apps start with a symbolic text prompt and process it with neural nets to output text or code.
  • Symbolic analysis: The neural network is combined with a symbolified problem-solver. For example, the AlphaGo neural network creates unique game moves that are evaluated using symbolic techniques like the Monte Carlo algorithms.
  • Neural structuring: The neural network converts raw data into symbols that are processed using symbolic algorithms. For example, an OCR can translate a document into text, extract numbers and entities that are categorized using symbolic methods and are entered into an enterprise resource planning system.
  • Symbolic labeling: Symbolic techniques are able to generate and label training data for neural networks. For instance, automatically generating new math problems and solutions that are similar to examples in a format that is better suited for a neural network.
  • Symbolic neural generation: A set of symbolic rules is engineered to an embedding scheme. These rules are then used to generate a neural network. For example, the Logic Tensor Network uses these symbolic techniques for training neural networks to cluster data, learn relationships, answer queries and classify across multiple labels.
  • Full integration: A neural network uses a symbolic reasoning engine to refine the next stage of processing, such as ChatGPT utilizing a plugin to solve math problems, thereby enhancing the overall processing process. Research on autonomous AI agents is investigating automated workflows across different domain-specific AI agents.
  • Graph neural networks utilize neural networks to extract relationships from complex systems, such as molecules and social networks, enhancing processing with symbolic reasoning and mathematical techniques in Neuro-Symbolic AI integration. These use neural networks to extract patterns from complex systems, such as molecules and social networks. This is done to improve processing speed with symbolic reasoning and mathematical techniques.


While neuro-symbolic AI holds immense potential, it is still in its early stages, with numerous challenges yet to be overcome. Integrating symbolic reasoning with neural learning is an extremely complex task that requires advanced algorithms and computational resources. Moreover, ensuring the ethical use of neuro-symbolic AI and mitigating potential biases are critical considerations.

Neuro-symbolic AI signifies a significant shift in the field of artificial intelligence, offering a new approach distinct from traditional methods. By bridging neural networks and symbolic AI, this innovative paradigm has the potential to completely reshape the landscape of AI research and applications in the future. 

By combining the strengths of symbolic reasoning and neural learning, neuro-symbolic AI offers a more comprehensive and transparent approach to machine learning. As researchers continue to investigate and perfect this new methodology, the potential applications of neuro-symbolic AI are limitless, promising to restructure industries and drastically change our world.


By using graph neural networks, neural networks, and symbolic AI can be combined for better reasoning. Graph neural networks utilize neural networks to extract relationships from complex systems, such as molecules and social networks, enhancing processing with symbolic reasoning and mathematical techniques in Neuro-Symbolic AI integration. These use neural networks to define relationships and patterns from complex systems, including molecules and social networks, to improve processing techniques with symbolic reasoning and mathematical techniques.

There are many advantages of Neuro-Symbolic AI, including improved data efficiency, Integration Layer, Knowledge Base, and Explanation Generator. 

These systems combine symbolic logic (for learning rules) with neural networks (for learning from data). This makes for a powerful fusion of both approaches. This combination enables AI to comprehend intricate patterns while also interpreting logical rules effectively.

Neuro-symbolic AI enhances the precision, explainability, and accuracy of artificial intelligence systems by combining neural networks and rules-based symbolic processing approaches. The neural element includes statistical deep learning approaches that are employed in a variety of machine learning applications.