Two approaches to AI, neural networks and symbolic systems, have been proven very successful for an array of AI problems. However, neither has been able to achieve the general reasoning ability required for human-like intelligence. It has been argued that this is due to inherent weaknesses in each approach. Luckily, these weaknesses appear to be complementary, with symbolic systems being adept at the kinds of things neural networks have trouble with and vice-versa. The field of neural-symbolic AI attempts to exploit this asymmetry by combining neural networks and symbolic AI into integrated systems. Often this has been done by encoding symbolic knowledge into neural networks. Unfortunately, although many different methods for this have been proposed, there is no common definition of an encoding to compare them. We seek to rectify this problem by introducing a semantic framework for neural-symbolic AI, which is then shown to be general enough to account for a large family of neural-symbolic systems. We provide a number of examples and proofs of the application of the framework to the neural encoding of various forms of knowledge representation and neural network. These, at first sight disparate approaches, are all shown to fall within the framework's formal definition of what we call semantic encoding for neural-symbolic AI.
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