Symbolic AI vs Machine Learning in Natural Language Processing

Neuro-symbolic approaches in artificial intelligence PMC

symbolic reasoning in ai

Neuro Symbolic AI is an interdisciplinary field that combines neural networks, which are a part of deep learning, with symbolic reasoning techniques. It aims to bridge the gap between symbolic reasoning and statistical learning by integrating the strengths of both approaches. This hybrid approach enables machines to reason symbolically while also leveraging the powerful pattern recognition capabilities of neural networks. For almost any type of programming outside of statistical learning algorithms, symbolic processing is used; consequently, it is in some way a necessary part of every AI system. Indeed, Seddiqi said he finds it’s often easier to program a few logical rules to implement some function than to deduce them with machine learning.

symbolic reasoning in ai

Rather, it is a simplified digital model that captures some of the flavor (but little of the complexity) of an actual biological brain. Artificial intelligence has mostly been focusing on a technique called deep learning. While LLMs like GPT-3 exhibit extensive knowledge and impressive language proficiency, their reasoning ability is far from perfect. When confronted with scenarios requiring coherent, multi-step inferences, these models struggle and are prone to logical lapses.

Understanding, the Chinese Room Argument, and Semantics

New deep learning approaches based on Transformer models have now eclipsed these earlier symbolic AI approaches and attained state-of-the-art performance in natural language processing. However, Transformer models are opaque and do not yet produce human-interpretable semantic representations for sentences and documents. Instead, they produce task-specific vectors where the meaning of the vector components is opaque.

symbolic reasoning in ai

The botmaster also has full transparency on how to fine-tune the engine when it doesn’t work properly, as it’s possible to understand why a specific decision has been made and what tools are needed to fix it. The two biggest flaws of deep learning are its lack of model interpretability (i.e. why did my model make that prediction?) and the large amount of data that deep neural networks require in order to learn. Similar to the problems in handling dynamic domains, common-sense reasoning is also difficult to capture in formal reasoning.

Further Reading on Symbolic AI

One important limitation is that deep learning algorithms and other machine learning neural networks are too narrow. Alessandro joined Bosch Corporate Research in 2016, after working as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. At Bosch, he focuses on neuro-symbolic reasoning for decision support systems.

They can learn to perform tasks such as image recognition and natural language processing with high accuracy. According to Wikipedia, machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence where “algorithms and statistical models are used by computer systems to perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. (…) Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as ‘training data’, in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task”. The deep learning hope—seemingly grounded not so much in science, but in a sort of historical grudge—is that intelligent behavior will emerge purely from the confluence of massive data and deep learning.

The benefits and limits of symbolic AI

Since ancient times, humans have been obsessed with creating thinking machines. As a result, numerous researchers have focused on creating intelligent machines throughout history. For example, researchers predicted that deep neural networks would eventually be used for autonomous image recognition and natural language processing as early as the 1980s. We’ve been working for decades to gather the data and computing power necessary to realize that goal, but now it is available.

  • Cognitive architectures such as ACT-R may have additional capabilities, such as the ability to compile frequently used knowledge into higher-level chunks.
  • In a different line of work, logic tensor networks in particular have been designed to capture logical background knowledge to improve image interpretation, and neural theorem provers can provide natural language reasoning by also taking knowledge bases into account.
  • Since the procedures are explicit representations (already written down and formalized), Symbolic AI is the best tool for the job.
  • Symbolic AI’s strength lies in its knowledge representation and reasoning through logic, making it more akin to Kahneman’s “System 2” mode of thinking, which is slow, takes work and demands attention.
  • Legacy systems, especially in sectors like finance and healthcare, have been developed over the decades.

Large Language Models are generally trained on massive amounts of textual data and produce meaningful text like humans. SymbolicAI uses the capabilities of these LLMs to develop software applications and bridge the gap between classic and data-dependent programming. These LLMs are shown to be the primary component for various multi-modal operations.

It considers only one state at a time so it is not possible

to manipulate environment. The grandfather of AI, Thomas Hobbes said — Thinking is manipulation of symbols and Reasoning is computation. 1) Hinton, Yann LeCun and Andrew Ng have all suggested that work on unsupervised learning (learning from unlabeled data) will lead to our next breakthroughs.

  • Non-monotonic logic is predicate logic with one extension called modal operator M which means “consistent with

    everything we know”.

  • In a new research paper, scientists from the University of Hamburg explore an innovative neurosymbolic technique to enhance logical reasoning in large language models (LLMs).
  • “One of the reasons why humans are able to work with so few examples of a new thing is that we are able to break down an object into its parts and properties and then to reason about them.
  • But symbolic AI starts to break when you must deal with the messiness of the world.

Read more about here.

Why did symbolic AI fail?

Since symbolic AI can't learn by itself, developers had to feed it with data and rules continuously. They also found out that the more they feed the machine, the more inaccurate its results became.

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