Symbolic AI and how it works

The history of AI is littered with failed projects and over-promised technology, but the field has come a long way in the past few decades.

One of the most promising recent developments in AI is symbolic AI, which works by using symbols to represent objects and ideas. This makes it possible for computers to understand complex concepts and relationships, which is essential for tasks like natural language processing and machine learning.

One advantage of symbolic AI is that it can deal with ambiguity and uncertainty. For example, when you ask a question like “what’s your name?”, the computer doesn’t know for sure what you’re asking, but it can use the symbols in the sentence to figure out the most likely interpretation. This also makes it possible for computers to learn from experience, since they can interpret ambiguous data in different ways and learn from their mistakes.

How Symbolic AI Works

In 1956, John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” (AI). He and other pioneers in the field hoped to create intelligent machines that could reason, learn, and communicate like humans. However, early AI systems were based on rules and symbols that could only be processed by human experts. In the 1970s, a new approach to AI called “symbolic AI” was developed.

Symbolic AI systems use a mathematical notation to represent knowledge about the world. This notation can be processed by computers, allowing machines to learn and solve problems on their own. Symbolic AI has been used to create programs that can read text, understand natural language, and solve complex problems.

Applications: What Symbolic AI is used for

Applications of Symbolic AI are vast and varied. Some common applications include natural language processing, knowledge representation, and automated reasoning. In natural language processing, Symbolic AI is used to create programs that can understand human language and respond in a way that is natural for humans.

In knowledge representation, Symbolic AI is used to create databases of knowledge that can be used by computers. In automated reasoning, Symbolic AI is used to create programs that can solve problems by using logic.

  • In business, it can be used for tasks such as data mining, market analysis, and customer relationship management.
  • In academia, it is used for research in robotics, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Limitations: The disadvantages of Symbolic AI

Symbolic AI has several limitations that prevent it from being truly intelligent. First, symbolic AI is very slow. It can take a long time for the computer to process the symbols and find a solution to the problem. Second, symbolic AI is not very accurate.

The computer may not be able to find the right solution to the problem or it may produce incorrect results. Third, symbolic AI is difficult to scale up. The amount of memory required for this type of AI increases exponentially with the size of the problem. Finally, symbolic AI is not very flexible. The computer can only solve problems that are specifically programmed into it.

When to Use Symbolic AI

When people think of artificial intelligence, they often think of machines that can think and learn like humans. However, this type of AI is known as strong AI, or artificial general intelligence. There are other types of AI, including symbolic AI. Symbolic AI is a type of machine learning that relies on symbols and rules to make decisions. It is simpler than strong AI and can be used to solve problems that are too complex for humans. Symbolic AI is also good at recognizing patterns and making predictions.

The benefits of Symbolic AI are:

1) It can help us to understand and control complex systems. 2) It can enable us to build intelligent agents that can reason, plan, and learn. 3) It is well-suited for tasks that require a lot of knowledge or rules. 4) It can be used to create models of the world that can be used for simulation or prediction. 5) It can be used to solve difficult problems that are too complex for humans to solve manually.


Symbolic AI is an important tool for researchers and developers who are looking to create artificially intelligent systems. By understanding the symbols that are used in AI, these individuals can create programs that are capable of understanding and responding to complex instructions. While there are some limitations to this approach, it remains a valuable tool for AI development.

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