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Proper scoring rules incentivize experts to accurately report beliefs, assuming predictions cannot influence outcomes. We relax this assumption and investigate incentives when predictions are performative, i.e., when they can influence the outcome of the prediction, such as when making public predictions about the stock market. We say a prediction is a fixed point if it accurately reflects the expert's beliefs after that prediction has been made. We show that in this setting, reports maximizing expected score generally do not reflect an expert's beliefs, and we give bounds on the inaccuracy of such reports. We show that, for binary predictions, if the influence of the expert's prediction on outcomes is bounded, it is possible to define scoring rules under which optimal reports are arbitrarily close to fixed points. However, this is impossible for predictions over more than two outcomes. We also perform numerical simulations in a toy setting, showing that our bounds are tight in some situations and that prediction error is often substantial (greater than 5-10%). Lastly, we discuss alternative notions of optimality, including performative stability, and show that they incentivize reporting fixed points.

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Our intention is to provide a definitive reference on what it would take to safely make use of generative/predictive models in the absence of a solution to the Eliciting Latent Knowledge problem. Furthermore, we believe that large language models can be understood as such predictive models of the world, and that such a conceptualization raises significant opportunities for their safe yet powerful use via carefully conditioning them to predict desirable outputs. Unfortunately, such approaches also raise a variety of potentially fatal safety problems, particularly surrounding situations where predictive models predict the output of other AI systems, potentially unbeknownst to us. There are numerous potential solutions to such problems, however, primarily via carefully conditioning models to predict the things we want (e.g. humans) rather than the things we don't (e.g. malign AIs). Furthermore, due to the simplicity of the prediction objective, we believe that predictive models present the easiest inner alignment problem that we are aware of. As a result, we think that conditioning approaches for predictive models represent the safest known way of eliciting human-level and slightly superhuman capabilities from large language models and other similar future models.

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As machine learning agents act more autonomously in the world, they will increasingly interact with each other. Unfortunately, in many social dilemmas like the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma, standard game theory predicts that ML agents will fail to cooperate with each other. Prior work has shown that one way to enable cooperative outcomes in the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma is to make the agents mutually transparent to each other, i.e., to allow them to access one another's source code (Rubinstein 1998, Tennenholtz 2004) -- or weights in the case of ML agents. However, full transparency is often unrealistic, whereas partial transparency is commonplace. Moreover, it is challenging for agents to learn their way to cooperation in the full transparency setting. In this paper, we introduce a more realistic setting in which agents only observe a single number indicating how similar they are to each other. We prove that this allows for the same set of cooperative outcomes as the full transparency setting. We also demonstrate experimentally that cooperation can be learned using simple ML methods.

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Cem Anil, Ashwini Pokle, Kaiqu Liang, Johannes Treutlein, Yuhuai Wu, Shaojie Bai, Zico Kolter, Roger Grosse

Designing networks capable of attaining better performance with an increased inference budget is important to facilitate generalization to harder problem instances. Recent efforts have shown promising results in this direction by making use of depth-wise recurrent networks. We show that a broad class of architectures named equilibrium models display strong upwards generalization, and find that stronger performance on harder examples (which require more iterations of inference to get correct) strongly correlates with the path independence of the system -- its tendency to converge to the same steady-state behaviour regardless of initialization, given enough computation. Experimental interventions made to promote path independence result in improved generalization on harder problem instances, while those that penalize it degrade this ability. Path independence analyses are also useful on a per-example basis: for equilibrium models that have good in-distribution performance, path independence on out-of-distribution samples strongly correlates with accuracy. Our results help explain why equilibrium models are capable of strong upwards generalization and motivates future work that harnesses path independence as a general modelling principle to facilitate scalable test-time usage.

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Learning in general-sum games can be unstable and often leads to socially undesirable, Pareto-dominated outcomes. To mitigate this, Learning with Opponent-Learning Awareness (LOLA) introduced opponent shaping to this setting, by accounting for the agent's influence on the anticipated learning steps of other agents. However, the original LOLA formulation (and follow-up work) is inconsistent because LOLA models other agents as naive learners rather than LOLA agents. In previous work, this inconsistency was suggested as a cause of LOLA's failure to preserve stable fixed points (SFPs). First, we formalize consistency and show that higher-order LOLA (HOLA) solves LOLA's inconsistency problem if it converges. Second, we correct a claim made in the literature, by proving that, contrary to Sch\"afer and Anandkumar (2019), Competitive Gradient Descent (CGD) does not recover HOLA as a series expansion. Hence, CGD also does not solve the consistency problem. Third, we propose a new method called Consistent LOLA (COLA), which learns update functions that are consistent under mutual opponent shaping. It requires no more than second-order derivatives and learns consistent update functions even when HOLA fails to converge. However, we also prove that even consistent update functions do not preserve SFPs, contradicting the hypothesis that this shortcoming is caused by LOLA's inconsistency. Finally, in an empirical evaluation on a set of general-sum games, we find that COLA finds prosocial solutions and that it converges under a wider range of learning rates than HOLA and LOLA. We support the latter finding with a theoretical result for a simple game.

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Cooperation in settings where agents have both common and conflicting interests (mixed-motive environments) has recently received considerable attention in multi-agent learning. However, the mixed-motive environments typically studied have a single cooperative outcome on which all agents can agree. Many real-world multi-agent environments are instead bargaining problems (BPs): they have several Pareto-optimal payoff profiles over which agents have conflicting preferences. We argue that typical cooperation-inducing learning algorithms fail to cooperate in BPs when there is room for normative disagreement resulting in the existence of multiple competing cooperative equilibria, and illustrate this problem empirically. To remedy the issue, we introduce the notion of norm-adaptive policies. Norm-adaptive policies are capable of behaving according to different norms in different circumstances, creating opportunities for resolving normative disagreement. We develop a class of norm-adaptive policies and show in experiments that these significantly increase cooperation. However, norm-adaptiveness cannot address residual bargaining failure arising from a fundamental tradeoff between exploitability and cooperative robustness.

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In many coordination problems, independently reasoning humans are able to discover mutually compatible policies. In contrast, independently trained self-play policies are often mutually incompatible. Zero-shot coordination (ZSC) has recently been proposed as a new frontier in multi-agent reinforcement learning to address this fundamental issue. Prior work approaches the ZSC problem by assuming players can agree on a shared learning algorithm but not on labels for actions and observations, and proposes other-play as an optimal solution. However, until now, this "label-free" problem has only been informally defined. We formalize this setting as the label-free coordination (LFC) problem by defining the label-free coordination game. We show that other-play is not an optimal solution to the LFC problem as it fails to consistently break ties between incompatible maximizers of the other-play objective. We introduce an extension of the algorithm, other-play with tie-breaking, and prove that it is optimal in the LFC problem and an equilibrium in the LFC game. Since arbitrary tie-breaking is precisely what the ZSC setting aims to prevent, we conclude that the LFC problem does not reflect the aims of ZSC. To address this, we introduce an alternative informal operationalization of ZSC as a starting point for future work.

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