What is Neural Search?¶
The core idea of neural search is to leverage state-of-the-art deep neural networks to build every component of a search system. In short, neural search is deep neural network-powered information retrieval. In academia, it’s often called neural information retrieval, but we think the phrase is too wordy so we coined it as neural search back in 2019.
What can it do?¶
Thanks to recent advances in deep neural networks, a neural search system can go way beyond simple text search. It enables advanced intelligence on all kinds of unstructured data, such as images, audio, video, PDF, 3D mesh, you name it.
For example, retrieving animation according to some beats; finding the best-fit memes according to some jokes; scanning a table with your iPhone’s LiDAR camera and finding similar furniture at IKEA. Neural search systems enable what traditional search can’t: multi/cross-modal data retrieval.
Think outside the (search) box¶
Many neural search-powered applications do not have a search box:
A question-answering chatbot can be powered by neural search: by first indexing all hard-coded QA pairs and then semantically mapping user dialog to those pairs.
A smart speaker can be powered by neural search: by applying STT (speech-to-text) and semantically mapping text to internal commands.
A recommendation system can be powered by neural search: by embedding user-item information into vectors and finding top-K nearest neighbours of a user/item.
Neural search creates a new way to comprehend the world. It is creating new doors that lead to new businesses.
Seize tomorrow today¶
Has neural search been solved and is it widely applicable? Not quite yet - but we’re working on it. Compared to traditional symbolic search, building a neural search system can seem daunting for the following reasons:
takes much more time to develop due to the complexity of AI and system engineering;
suffers from a fragmented tech stack and glue code;
is computationally demanding and can be very inefficient;
is hard to sustain when facing the accelerated innovation in deep learning.
That’s why we built Jina, an easier way to build scalable and sustainable neural search systems on the cloud.