Humans are capable of strategically deceptive behavior: behaving helpfully in most situations, but then behaving very differently in order to pursue alternative objectives when given the opportunity. If an AI system learned such a deceptive strategy, could we detect it and remove it using current state-of-the-art safety training techniques? To study this question, we construct proof-of-concept examples of deceptive behavior in large language models (LLMs). For example, we train models that write secure code when the prompt states that the year is 2023, but insert exploitable code when the stated year is 2024. We find that such backdoor behavior can be made persistent, so that it is not removed by standard safety training techniques, including supervised fine-tuning, reinforcement learning, and adversarial training (eliciting unsafe behavior and then training to remove it). The backdoor behavior is most persistent in the largest models and in models trained to produce chain-of-thought reasoning about deceiving the training process, with the persistence remaining even when the chain-of-thought is distilled away. Furthermore, rather than removing backdoors, we find that adversarial training can teach models to better recognize their backdoor triggers, effectively hiding the unsafe behavior. Our results suggest that, once a model exhibits deceptive behavior, standard techniques could fail to remove such deception and create a false impression of safety.
As language models (LMs) advance, interest is growing in applying them to high-stakes societal decisions, such as determining financing or housing eligibility. However, their potential for discrimination in such contexts raises ethical concerns, motivating the need for better methods to evaluate these risks. We present a method for proactively evaluating the potential discriminatory impact of LMs in a wide range of use cases, including hypothetical use cases where they have not yet been deployed. Specifically, we use an LM to generate a wide array of potential prompts that decision-makers may input into an LM, spanning 70 diverse decision scenarios across society, and systematically vary the demographic information in each prompt. Applying this methodology reveals patterns of both positive and negative discrimination in the Claude 2.0 model in select settings when no interventions are applied. While we do not endorse or permit the use of language models to make automated decisions for the high-risk use cases we study, we demonstrate techniques to significantly decrease both positive and negative discrimination through careful prompt engineering, providing pathways toward safer deployment in use cases where they may be appropriate. Our work enables developers and policymakers to anticipate, measure, and address discrimination as language model capabilities and applications continue to expand. We release our dataset and prompts at https://huggingface.co/datasets/Anthropic/discrim-eval
Human feedback is commonly utilized to finetune AI assistants. But human feedback may also encourage model responses that match user beliefs over truthful ones, a behaviour known as sycophancy. We investigate the prevalence of sycophancy in models whose finetuning procedure made use of human feedback, and the potential role of human preference judgments in such behavior. We first demonstrate that five state-of-the-art AI assistants consistently exhibit sycophancy across four varied free-form text-generation tasks. To understand if human preferences drive this broadly observed behavior, we analyze existing human preference data. We find that when a response matches a user's views, it is more likely to be preferred. Moreover, both humans and preference models (PMs) prefer convincingly-written sycophantic responses over correct ones a non-negligible fraction of the time. Optimizing model outputs against PMs also sometimes sacrifices truthfulness in favor of sycophancy. Overall, our results indicate that sycophancy is a general behavior of state-of-the-art AI assistants, likely driven in part by human preference judgments favoring sycophantic responses.
Human feedback can prevent overtly harmful utterances in conversational models, but may not automatically mitigate subtle problematic behaviors such as a stated desire for self-preservation or power. Constitutional AI offers an alternative, replacing human feedback with feedback from AI models conditioned only on a list of written principles. We find this approach effectively prevents the expression of such behaviors. The success of simple principles motivates us to ask: can models learn general ethical behaviors from only a single written principle? To test this, we run experiments using a principle roughly stated as "do what's best for humanity". We find that the largest dialogue models can generalize from this short constitution, resulting in harmless assistants with no stated interest in specific motivations like power. A general principle may thus partially avoid the need for a long list of constitutions targeting potentially harmful behaviors. However, more detailed constitutions still improve fine-grained control over specific types of harms. This suggests both general and specific principles have value for steering AI safely.
Large language models (LLMs) may not equitably represent diverse global perspectives on societal issues. In this paper, we develop a quantitative framework to evaluate whose opinions model-generated responses are more similar to. We first build a dataset, GlobalOpinionQA, comprised of questions and answers from cross-national surveys designed to capture diverse opinions on global issues across different countries. Next, we define a metric that quantifies the similarity between LLM-generated survey responses and human responses, conditioned on country. With our framework, we run three experiments on an LLM trained to be helpful, honest, and harmless with Constitutional AI. By default, LLM responses tend to be more similar to the opinions of certain populations, such as those from the USA, and some European and South American countries, highlighting the potential for biases. When we prompt the model to consider a particular country's perspective, responses shift to be more similar to the opinions of the prompted populations, but can reflect harmful cultural stereotypes. When we translate GlobalOpinionQA questions to a target language, the model's responses do not necessarily become the most similar to the opinions of speakers of those languages. We release our dataset for others to use and build on. Our data is at https://huggingface.co/datasets/Anthropic/llm_global_opinions. We also provide an interactive visualization at https://llmglobalvalues.anthropic.com.
We test the hypothesis that language models trained with reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) have the capability to "morally self-correct" -- to avoid producing harmful outputs -- if instructed to do so. We find strong evidence in support of this hypothesis across three different experiments, each of which reveal different facets of moral self-correction. We find that the capability for moral self-correction emerges at 22B model parameters, and typically improves with increasing model size and RLHF training. We believe that at this level of scale, language models obtain two capabilities that they can use for moral self-correction: (1) they can follow instructions and (2) they can learn complex normative concepts of harm like stereotyping, bias, and discrimination. As such, they can follow instructions to avoid certain kinds of morally harmful outputs. We believe our results are cause for cautious optimism regarding the ability to train language models to abide by ethical principles.