Artificial intelligence (AI) has witnessed an evolution from task-specific to general-purpose systems that trend toward human versatility. As AI systems begin to play pivotal roles in society, it is important to ensure that they are adequately evaluated. Current AI benchmarks typically assess performance on collections of specific tasks. This has drawbacks when used for assessing general-purpose AI systems. First, it is difficult to predict whether AI systems could complete a new task it has never seen or that did not previously exist. Second, these benchmarks often focus on overall performance metrics, potentially overlooking the finer details crucial for making informed decisions. Lastly, there are growing concerns about the reliability of existing benchmarks and questions about what is being measured. To solve these challenges, this paper suggests that psychometrics, the science of psychological measurement, should be placed at the core of evaluating general-purpose AI. Psychometrics provides a rigorous methodology for identifying and measuring the latent constructs that underlie performance across multiple tasks. We discuss its merits, warn against potential pitfalls, and propose a framework for putting it into practice. Finally, we explore future opportunities to integrate psychometrics with AI.
Language models have become very popular recently and many claims have been made about their abilities, including for commonsense reasoning. Given the increasingly better results of current language models on previous static benchmarks for commonsense reasoning, we explore an alternative dialectical evaluation. The goal of this kind of evaluation is not to obtain an aggregate performance value but to find failures and map the boundaries of the system. Dialoguing with the system gives the opportunity to check for consistency and get more reassurance of these boundaries beyond anecdotal evidence. In this paper we conduct some qualitative investigations of this kind of evaluation for the particular case of spatial reasoning (which is a fundamental aspect of commonsense reasoning). We conclude with some suggestions for future work both to improve the capabilities of language models and to systematise this kind of dialectical evaluation.
Language models demonstrate both quantitative improvement and new qualitative capabilities with increasing scale. Despite their potentially transformative impact, these new capabilities are as yet poorly characterized. In order to inform future research, prepare for disruptive new model capabilities, and ameliorate socially harmful effects, it is vital that we understand the present and near-future capabilities and limitations of language models. To address this challenge, we introduce the Beyond the Imitation Game benchmark (BIG-bench). BIG-bench currently consists of 204 tasks, contributed by 442 authors across 132 institutions. Task topics are diverse, drawing problems from linguistics, childhood development, math, common-sense reasoning, biology, physics, social bias, software development, and beyond. BIG-bench focuses on tasks that are believed to be beyond the capabilities of current language models. We evaluate the behavior of OpenAI's GPT models, Google-internal dense transformer architectures, and Switch-style sparse transformers on BIG-bench, across model sizes spanning millions to hundreds of billions of parameters. In addition, a team of human expert raters performed all tasks in order to provide a strong baseline. Findings include: model performance and calibration both improve with scale, but are poor in absolute terms (and when compared with rater performance); performance is remarkably similar across model classes, though with benefits from sparsity; tasks that improve gradually and predictably commonly involve a large knowledge or memorization component, whereas tasks that exhibit "breakthrough" behavior at a critical scale often involve multiple steps or components, or brittle metrics; social bias typically increases with scale in settings with ambiguous context, but this can be improved with prompting.
The Apperception Engine is an unsupervised learning system. Given a sequence of sensory inputs, it constructs a symbolic causal theory that both explains the sensory sequence and also satisfies a set of unity conditions. The unity conditions insist that the constituents of the theory - objects, properties, and laws - must be integrated into a coherent whole. Once a theory has been constructed, it can be applied to predict future sensor readings, retrodict earlier readings, or impute missing readings. In this paper, we evaluate the Apperception Engine in a diverse variety of domains, including cellular automata, rhythms and simple nursery tunes, multi-modal binding problems, occlusion tasks, and sequence induction intelligence tests. In each domain, we test our engine's ability to predict future sensor values, retrodict earlier sensor values, and impute missing sensory data. The engine performs well in all these domains, significantly outperforming neural net baselines and state of the art inductive logic programming systems. These results are significant because neural nets typically struggle to solve the binding problem (where information from different modalities must somehow be combined together into different aspects of one unified object) and fail to solve occlusion tasks (in which objects are sometimes visible and sometimes obscured from view). We note in particular that in the sequence induction intelligence tests, our system achieved human-level performance. This is notable because our system is not a bespoke system designed specifically to solve intelligence tests, but a general-purpose system that was designed to make sense of any sensory sequence.
This paper attempts to answer a central question in unsupervised learning: what does it mean to "make sense" of a sensory sequence? In our formalization, making sense involves constructing a symbolic causal theory that explains the sensory sequence and satisfies a set of unity conditions. This model was inspired by Kant's discussion of the synthetic unity of apperception in the Critique of Pure Reason. On our account, making sense of sensory input is a type of program synthesis, but it is unsupervised program synthesis. Our second contribution is a computer implementation, the Apperception Engine, that was designed to satisfy the above requirements. Our system is able to produce interpretable human-readable causal theories from very small amounts of data, because of the strong inductive bias provided by the Kantian unity constraints. A causal theory produced by our system is able to predict future sensor readings, as well as retrodict earlier readings, and "impute" (fill in the blanks of) missing sensory readings, in any combination. We tested the engine in a diverse variety of domains, including cellular automata, rhythms and simple nursery tunes, multi-modal binding problems, occlusion tasks, and sequence induction IQ tests. In each domain, we test our engine's ability to predict future sensor values, retrodict earlier sensor values, and impute missing sensory data. The Apperception Engine performs well in all these domains, significantly out-performing neural net baselines. We note in particular that in the sequence induction IQ tasks, our system achieved human-level performance. This is notable because our system is not a bespoke system designed specifically to solve IQ tasks, but a general purpose apperception system that was designed to make sense of any sensory sequence.
We investigate the teaching of infinite concept classes through the effect of the learning bias (which is used by the learner to prefer some concepts over others and by the teacher to devise the teaching examples) and the sampling bias (which determines how the concepts are sampled from the class). We analyse two important classes: Turing machines and finite-state machines. We derive bounds for the biased teaching dimension when the learning bias is derived from a complexity measure (Kolmogorov complexity and minimal number of states respectively) and analyse the sampling distributions that lead to finite expected biased teaching dimensions. We highlight the existing trade-off between the bound and the representativeness of the sample, and its implications for the understanding of what teaching rich concepts to machines entails.
Artificial intelligence develops techniques and systems whose performance must be evaluated on a regular basis in order to certify and foster progress in the discipline. We will describe and critically assess the different ways AI systems are evaluated. We first focus on the traditional task-oriented evaluation approach. We see that black-box (behavioural evaluation) is becoming more and more common, as AI systems are becoming more complex and unpredictable. We identify three kinds of evaluation: Human discrimination, problem benchmarks and peer confrontation. We describe the limitations of the many evaluation settings and competitions in these three categories and propose several ideas for a more systematic and robust evaluation. We then focus on a less customary (and challenging) ability-oriented evaluation approach, where a system is characterised by its (cognitive) abilities, rather than by the tasks it is designed to solve. We discuss several possibilities: the adaptation of cognitive tests used for humans and animals, the development of tests derived from algorithmic information theory or more general approaches under the perspective of universal psychometrics.
This note revisits the concepts of task and difficulty. The notion of cognitive task and its use for the evaluation of intelligent systems is still replete with issues. The view of tasks as MDP in the context of reinforcement learning has been especially useful for the formalisation of learning tasks. However, this alternate interaction does not accommodate well for some other tasks that are usual in artificial intelligence and, most especially, in animal and human evaluation. In particular, we want to have a more general account of episodes, rewards and responses, and, most especially, the computational complexity of the algorithm behind an agent solving a task. This is crucial for the determination of the difficulty of a task as the (logarithm of the) number of computational steps required to acquire an acceptable policy for the task, which includes the exploration of policies and their verification. We introduce a notion of asynchronous-time stochastic tasks. Based on this interpretation, we can see what task difficulty is, what instance difficulty is (relative to a task) and also what task compositions and decompositions are.
In this exploratory note we ask the question of what a measure of performance for all tasks is like if we use a weighting of tasks based on a difficulty function. This difficulty function depends on the complexity of the (acceptable) solution for the task (instead of a universal distribution over tasks or an adaptive test). The resulting aggregations and decompositions are (now retrospectively) seen as the natural (and trivial) interactive generalisation of the C-tests.