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James Zou

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Safety-Tuned LLaMAs: Lessons From Improving the Safety of Large Language Models that Follow Instructions

Sep 14, 2023
Federico Bianchi, Mirac Suzgun, Giuseppe Attanasio, Paul Röttger, Dan Jurafsky, Tatsunori Hashimoto, James Zou

Training large language models to follow instructions makes them perform better on a wide range of tasks, generally becoming more helpful. However, a perfectly helpful model will follow even the most malicious instructions and readily generate harmful content. In this paper, we raise concerns over the safety of models that only emphasize helpfulness, not safety, in their instruction-tuning. We show that several popular instruction-tuned models are highly unsafe. Moreover, we show that adding just 3% safety examples (a few hundred demonstrations) in the training set when fine-tuning a model like LLaMA can substantially improve their safety. Our safety-tuning does not make models significantly less capable or helpful as measured by standard benchmarks. However, we do find a behavior of exaggerated safety, where too much safety-tuning makes models refuse to respond to reasonable prompts that superficially resemble unsafe ones. Our study sheds light on trade-offs in training LLMs to follow instructions and exhibit safe behavior.

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Large language models in medicine: the potentials and pitfalls

Aug 31, 2023
Jesutofunmi A. Omiye, Haiwen Gui, Shawheen J. Rezaei, James Zou, Roxana Daneshjou

Large language models (LLMs) have been applied to tasks in healthcare, ranging from medical exam questions to responding to patient questions. With increasing institutional partnerships between companies producing LLMs and healthcare systems, real world clinical application is coming closer to reality. As these models gain traction, it is essential for healthcare practitioners to understand what LLMs are, their development, their current and potential applications, and the associated pitfalls when utilized in medicine. This review and accompanying tutorial aim to give an overview of these topics to aid healthcare practitioners in understanding the rapidly changing landscape of LLMs as applied to medicine.

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Is your data alignable? Principled and interpretable alignability testing and integration of single-cell data

Aug 03, 2023
Rong Ma, Eric D. Sun, David Donoho, James Zou

Single-cell data integration can provide a comprehensive molecular view of cells, and many algorithms have been developed to remove unwanted technical or biological variations and integrate heterogeneous single-cell datasets. Despite their wide usage, existing methods suffer from several fundamental limitations. In particular, we lack a rigorous statistical test for whether two high-dimensional single-cell datasets are alignable (and therefore should even be aligned). Moreover, popular methods can substantially distort the data during alignment, making the aligned data and downstream analysis difficult to interpret. To overcome these limitations, we present a spectral manifold alignment and inference (SMAI) framework, which enables principled and interpretable alignability testing and structure-preserving integration of single-cell data. SMAI provides a statistical test to robustly determine the alignability between datasets to avoid misleading inference, and is justified by high-dimensional statistical theory. On a diverse range of real and simulated benchmark datasets, it outperforms commonly used alignment methods. Moreover, we show that SMAI improves various downstream analyses such as identification of differentially expressed genes and imputation of single-cell spatial transcriptomics, providing further biological insights. SMAI's interpretability also enables quantification and a deeper understanding of the sources of technical confounders in single-cell data.

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How is ChatGPT's behavior changing over time?

Aug 01, 2023
Lingjiao Chen, Matei Zaharia, James Zou

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GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 are the two most widely used large language model (LLM) services. However, when and how these models are updated over time is opaque. Here, we evaluate the March 2023 and June 2023 versions of GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 on several diverse tasks: 1) math problems, 2) sensitive/dangerous questions, 3) opinion surveys, 4) multi-hop knowledge-intensive questions, 5) generating code, 6) US Medical License tests, and 7) visual reasoning. We find that the performance and behavior of both GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 can vary greatly over time. For example, GPT-4 (March 2023) was reasonable at identifying prime vs. composite numbers (84% accuracy) but GPT-4 (June 2023) was poor on these same questions (51% accuracy). This is partly explained by a drop in GPT-4's amenity to follow chain-of-thought prompting. Interestingly, GPT-3.5 was much better in June than in March in this task. GPT-4 became less willing to answer sensitive questions and opinion survey questions in June than in March. GPT-4 performed better at multi-hop questions in June than in March, while GPT-3.5's performance dropped on this task. Both GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 had more formatting mistakes in code generation in June than in March. Overall, our findings show that the behavior of the "same" LLM service can change substantially in a relatively short amount of time, highlighting the need for continuous monitoring of LLMs.

* add more evaluations 
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What Should Data Science Education Do with Large Language Models?

Jul 07, 2023
Xinming Tu, James Zou, Weijie J. Su, Linjun Zhang

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The rapid advances of large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, are revolutionizing data science and statistics. These state-of-the-art tools can streamline complex processes. As a result, it reshapes the role of data scientists. We argue that LLMs are transforming the responsibilities of data scientists, shifting their focus from hands-on coding, data-wrangling and conducting standard analyses to assessing and managing analyses performed by these automated AIs. This evolution of roles is reminiscent of the transition from a software engineer to a product manager. We illustrate this transition with concrete data science case studies using LLMs in this paper. These developments necessitate a meaningful evolution in data science education. Pedagogy must now place greater emphasis on cultivating diverse skillsets among students, such as LLM-informed creativity, critical thinking, AI-guided programming. LLMs can also play a significant role in the classroom as interactive teaching and learning tools, contributing to personalized education. This paper discusses the opportunities, resources and open challenges for each of these directions. As with any transformative technology, integrating LLMs into education calls for careful consideration. While LLMs can perform repetitive tasks efficiently, it's crucial to remember that their role is to supplement human intelligence and creativity, not to replace it. Therefore, the new era of data science education should balance the benefits of LLMs while fostering complementary human expertise and innovations. In conclusion, the rise of LLMs heralds a transformative period for data science and its education. This paper seeks to shed light on the emerging trends, potential opportunities, and challenges accompanying this paradigm shift, hoping to spark further discourse and investigation into this exciting, uncharted territory.

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OpenDataVal: a Unified Benchmark for Data Valuation

Jun 18, 2023
Kevin Fu Jiang, Weixin Liang, James Zou, Yongchan Kwon

Assessing the quality and impact of individual data points is critical for improving model performance and mitigating undesirable biases within the training dataset. Several data valuation algorithms have been proposed to quantify data quality, however, there lacks a systemic and standardized benchmarking system for data valuation. In this paper, we introduce OpenDataVal, an easy-to-use and unified benchmark framework that empowers researchers and practitioners to apply and compare various data valuation algorithms. OpenDataVal provides an integrated environment that includes (i) a diverse collection of image, natural language, and tabular datasets, (ii) implementations of nine different state-of-the-art data valuation algorithms, and (iii) a prediction model API that can import any models in scikit-learn. Furthermore, we propose four downstream machine learning tasks for evaluating the quality of data values. We perform benchmarking analysis using OpenDataVal, quantifying and comparing the efficacy of state-of-the-art data valuation approaches. We find that no single algorithm performs uniformly best across all tasks, and an appropriate algorithm should be employed for a user's downstream task. OpenDataVal is publicly available at with comprehensive documentation. Furthermore, we provide a leaderboard where researchers can evaluate the effectiveness of their own data valuation algorithms.

* 20 pages 
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ArtWhisperer: A Dataset for Characterizing Human-AI Interactions in Artistic Creations

Jun 13, 2023
Kailas Vodrahalli, James Zou

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As generative AI becomes more prevalent, it is important to study how human users interact with such models. In this work, we investigate how people use text-to-image models to generate desired target images. To study this interaction, we created ArtWhisperer, an online game where users are given a target image and are tasked with iteratively finding a prompt that creates a similar-looking image as the target. Through this game, we recorded over 50,000 human-AI interactions; each interaction corresponds to one text prompt created by a user and the corresponding generated image. The majority of these are repeated interactions where a user iterates to find the best prompt for their target image, making this a unique sequential dataset for studying human-AI collaborations. In an initial analysis of this dataset, we identify several characteristics of prompt interactions and user strategies. People submit diverse prompts and are able to discover a variety of text descriptions that generate similar images. Interestingly, prompt diversity does not decrease as users find better prompts. We further propose to a new metric the study the steerability of AI using our dataset. We define steerability as the expected number of interactions required to adequately complete a task. We estimate this value by fitting a Markov chain for each target task and calculating the expected time to reach an adequate score in the Markov chain. We quantify and compare AI steerability across different types of target images and two different models, finding that images of cities and natural world images are more steerable than artistic and fantasy images. These findings provide insights into human-AI interaction behavior, present a concrete method of assessing AI steerability, and demonstrate the general utility of the ArtWhisperer dataset.

* 20 pages, 13 figures 
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Factorized Contrastive Learning: Going Beyond Multi-view Redundancy

Jun 08, 2023
Paul Pu Liang, Zihao Deng, Martin Ma, James Zou, Louis-Philippe Morency, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

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In a wide range of multimodal tasks, contrastive learning has become a particularly appealing approach since it can successfully learn representations from abundant unlabeled data with only pairing information (e.g., image-caption or video-audio pairs). Underpinning these approaches is the assumption of multi-view redundancy - that shared information between modalities is necessary and sufficient for downstream tasks. However, in many real-world settings, task-relevant information is also contained in modality-unique regions: information that is only present in one modality but still relevant to the task. How can we learn self-supervised multimodal representations to capture both shared and unique information relevant to downstream tasks? This paper proposes FactorCL, a new multimodal representation learning method to go beyond multi-view redundancy. FactorCL is built from three new contributions: (1) factorizing task-relevant information into shared and unique representations, (2) capturing task-relevant information via maximizing MI lower bounds and removing task-irrelevant information via minimizing MI upper bounds, and (3) multimodal data augmentations to approximate task relevance without labels. On large-scale real-world datasets, FactorCL captures both shared and unique information and achieves state-of-the-art results on six benchmarks.

* Code available at: 
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Beyond Confidence: Reliable Models Should Also Consider Atypicality

May 29, 2023
Mert Yuksekgonul, Linjun Zhang, James Zou, Carlos Guestrin

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While most machine learning models can provide confidence in their predictions, confidence is insufficient to understand a prediction's reliability. For instance, the model may have a low confidence prediction if the input is not well-represented in the training dataset or if the input is inherently ambiguous. In this work, we investigate the relationship between how atypical(rare) a sample or a class is and the reliability of a model's predictions. We first demonstrate that atypicality is strongly related to miscalibration and accuracy. In particular, we empirically show that predictions for atypical inputs or atypical classes are more overconfident and have lower accuracy. Using these insights, we show incorporating atypicality improves uncertainty quantification and model performance for discriminative neural networks and large language models. In a case study, we show that using atypicality improves the performance of a skin lesion classifier across different skin tone groups without having access to the group attributes. Overall, we propose that models should use not only confidence but also atypicality to improve uncertainty quantification and performance. Our results demonstrate that simple post-hoc atypicality estimators can provide significant value.

* An earlier version was presented in the ICLR 2023 Pitfalls of Limited Data and Computation for Trustworthy ML Workshop 
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