Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid AI

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid AI

Hybrid AI is essentially a teamwork approach between two different AI techniques – machine learning and symbolic AI.

What Is Hybrid AI?

Hybrid AI is essentially a teamwork approach between two different AI techniques – machine learning and symbolic AI. Machine learning is a type of AI that learns from data, like a self-driving car learning to recognise traffic lights. On the other hand, symbolic AI, also known as classical AI, relies on pre-programmed rules and logic.

How Does Hybrid AI Work?

Hybrid AI works by combining the strengths of two distinct AI approaches:

Machine Learning (ML): This is akin to learning from experience. ML algorithms analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and make predictions. Imagine a self-driving car using ML to recognise traffic lights and road signs based on past encounters.

Symbolic AI (also known as Knowledge-Based AI): This is rule-based reasoning. Symbolic AI relies on pre-defined rules and logic programmed by humans. Think of a chess-playing computer that follows a complex set of rules to determine its moves on the board.

Here’s how the two techniques work together in hybrid AI:

  • Data Analysis And Learning: ML takes centre stage here. It sifts through vast amounts of data to uncover patterns and relationships. This data could be anything from images and text for a chatbot to sensor readings for a self-driving car.
  • Knowledge Integration: Symbolic AI comes into play by incorporating pre-existing knowledge and rules. This knowledge can be encoded in various forms, like digital maps for a self-driving car or grammatical rules for a language translator.
  • Combined Decision Making:  This is where the magic happens. The system leverages the learned patterns from machine learning and the encoded knowledge from symbolic AI to make decisions. This combined approach leads to more robust and adaptable AI systems.

Is Hybrid AI Important To The Future Of AI?

There are strong arguments to be made that hybrid AI is crucial for the future of AI for several reasons:

  • Overcoming Limitations: Standalone machine learning can struggle with certain tasks. For instance, complex reasoning or tasks requiring common sense can be tricky. Symbolic AI’s rule-based approach can bridge this gap, leading to more well-rounded AI.
  • Real-World Applicability: Many AI applications require functioning in the real world, which is messy and unpredictable. Hybrid AI’s ability to learn and adapt is essential for navigating these complexities. Imagine a medical diagnosis system that combines patient data analysis (ML) with medical knowledge (symbolic AI) for a more comprehensive assessment.
  • Explainability And Trust: As AI becomes more integrated into our lives, it’s crucial to understand how it makes decisions. Hybrid AI’s transparency, thanks to symbolic AI’s logic-based approach, can help build trust in AI systems.
  • Efficiency And Scalability: ML models can be resource-intensive to train and run. Hybrid AI can potentially make better use of computational power by combining cloud-based learning (ML) with on-device processing (symbolic AI). This can be especially important for applications on resource-constrained devices.

What Are Some Applications Of Hybrid AI?

Fraud Detection

  • ML: Analyses vast amounts of transaction data to identify patterns that might indicate fraudulent activity.
  • Symbolic AI: Incorporates pre-defined rules about suspicious transactions, like exceeding spending limits or unusual purchase locations.
  • This combination allows the system to learn from new fraud tactics (ML) while also leveraging existing knowledge about fraud patterns (symbolic AI).

Smart Assistants

  • ML: Analyses user interactions and preferences to personalise responses and recommendations.
  • Symbolic AI: Integrates knowledge about the real world, like information from calendars, maps, or web searches, to understand user requests better.
  • This Combination enables smart assistants to have more natural conversations, understand context, and provide helpful suggestions.

Medical Diagnosis

  • ML: Analyses medical images like X-rays or scans to detect abnormalities.
  • Symbolic AI: Incorporates medical knowledge about diseases and symptoms to improve the accuracy of diagnoses.
  • This combination can assist doctors in making more informed decisions while also potentially expediting the diagnostic process.

Self-Driving Cars

  • ML: Processes sensor data like cameras and LiDAR to perceive the environment and navigate roads.
  • Symbolic AI: Integrates traffic laws, road signs, and digital maps to guide the car’s behaviour and decision-making.
  • This approach allows self-driving cars to react to unexpected situations (ML) while adhering to traffic regulations and navigating complex road layouts (symbolic AI).


  • ML: Analyses network traffic patterns to identify potential cyberattacks.
  • Symbolic AI: Integrates knowledge about known vulnerabilities and attack methods to improve threat detection.
  • This combination can help cybersecurity systems stay ahead of evolving threats (ML) while also leveraging existing knowledge about cyberattacks (symbolic AI).

What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Hybrid AI?

Advantages Of Hybrid AI

  • Enhanced Accuracy And Explainability: ML can sometimes be a ‘black box’, where results are produced without clear reasoning. Symbolic AI’s rule-based approach helps make AI’s decision-making process more transparent and easier to understand.
  • Flexibility And Adaptability: By combining learning and pre-programmed knowledge, hybrid AI can adapt to new situations and handle unforeseen circumstances more effectively. Imagine a self-driving car that encounters an unusual traffic situation. By combining learned patterns from real-world driving (machine learning) with pre-programmed traffic laws (symbolic AI), the car can make a more informed decision.
  • Improved User Interaction: Hybrid AI can lead to more natural and user-friendly AI systems. For instance, chatbots that can understand the nuances of human language and respond accordingly benefit from this approach.
  • Efficiency & Scalability: Training and running machine learning models can be resource-intensive. Hybrid AI can potentially improve efficiency by combining cloud-based learning (machine learning) with on-device processing (symbolic AI). This is particularly important for applications on devices with limited resources.

Disadvantages Of Hybrid AI

  • Complexity & Development Challenges: Integrating machine learning and symbolic AI effectively can be challenging. Finding the right balance between the two approaches and ensuring communication between them requires significant development effort.
  • Potential For Bias: Both machine learning and symbolic AI can be susceptible to bias,  which can be amplified in a hybrid system. Careful design and data selection are essential to mitigate bias in hybrid AI.
  • Data Dependency: Machine learning thrives on large datasets. If insufficient data is available, the effectiveness of the hybrid AI system might be compromised.
  • Evolving Field: Hybrid AI is a relatively new field, and best practices are still under development. As the field matures, we can expect ongoing refinements and advancements.