Neural language models are increasingly deployed into APIs and websites that allow a user to pass in a prompt and receive generated text. Many of these systems do not reveal generation parameters. In this paper, we present methods to reverse-engineer the decoding method used to generate text (i.e., top-$k$ or nucleus sampling). Our ability to discover which decoding strategy was used has implications for detecting generated text. Additionally, the process of discovering the decoding strategy can reveal biases caused by selecting decoding settings which severely truncate a model's predicted distributions. We perform our attack on several families of open-source language models, as well as on production systems (e.g., ChatGPT).
We introduce MADLAD-400, a manually audited, general domain 3T token monolingual dataset based on CommonCrawl, spanning 419 languages. We discuss the limitations revealed by self-auditing MADLAD-400, and the role data auditing had in the dataset creation process. We then train and release a 10.7B-parameter multilingual machine translation model on 250 billion tokens covering over 450 languages using publicly available data, and find that it is competitive with models that are significantly larger, and report the results on different domains. In addition, we train a 8B-parameter language model, and assess the results on few-shot translation. We make the baseline models available to the research community.
Large language models are now tuned to align with the goals of their creators, namely to be "helpful and harmless." These models should respond helpfully to user questions, but refuse to answer requests that could cause harm. However, adversarial users can construct inputs which circumvent attempts at alignment. In this work, we study to what extent these models remain aligned, even when interacting with an adversarial user who constructs worst-case inputs (adversarial examples). These inputs are designed to cause the model to emit harmful content that would otherwise be prohibited. We show that existing NLP-based optimization attacks are insufficiently powerful to reliably attack aligned text models: even when current NLP-based attacks fail, we can find adversarial inputs with brute force. As a result, the failure of current attacks should not be seen as proof that aligned text models remain aligned under adversarial inputs. However the recent trend in large-scale ML models is multimodal models that allow users to provide images that influence the text that is generated. We show these models can be easily attacked, i.e., induced to perform arbitrary un-aligned behavior through adversarial perturbation of the input image. We conjecture that improved NLP attacks may demonstrate this same level of adversarial control over text-only models.
Pretraining is the preliminary and fundamental step in developing capable language models (LM). Despite this, pretraining data design is critically under-documented and often guided by empirically unsupported intuitions. To address this, we pretrain 28 1.5B parameter decoder-only models, training on data curated (1) at different times, (2) with varying toxicity and quality filters, and (3) with different domain compositions. First, we quantify the effect of pretraining data age. A temporal shift between evaluation data and pretraining data leads to performance degradation, which is not overcome by finetuning. Second, we explore the effect of quality and toxicity filters, showing a trade-off between performance on standard benchmarks and risk of toxic generations. Our findings indicate there does not exist a one-size-fits-all solution to filtering training data. We also find that the effects of different types of filtering are not predictable from text domain characteristics. Lastly, we empirically validate that the inclusion of heterogeneous data sources, like books and web, is broadly beneficial and warrants greater prioritization. These findings constitute the largest set of experiments to validate, quantify, and expose many undocumented intuitions about text pretraining, which we hope will help support more informed data-centric decisions in LM development.
We introduce PaLM 2, a new state-of-the-art language model that has better multilingual and reasoning capabilities and is more compute-efficient than its predecessor PaLM. PaLM 2 is a Transformer-based model trained using a mixture of objectives. Through extensive evaluations on English and multilingual language, and reasoning tasks, we demonstrate that PaLM 2 has significantly improved quality on downstream tasks across different model sizes, while simultaneously exhibiting faster and more efficient inference compared to PaLM. This improved efficiency enables broader deployment while also allowing the model to respond faster, for a more natural pace of interaction. PaLM 2 demonstrates robust reasoning capabilities exemplified by large improvements over PaLM on BIG-Bench and other reasoning tasks. PaLM 2 exhibits stable performance on a suite of responsible AI evaluations, and enables inference-time control over toxicity without additional overhead or impact on other capabilities. Overall, PaLM 2 achieves state-of-the-art performance across a diverse set of tasks and capabilities. When discussing the PaLM 2 family, it is important to distinguish between pre-trained models (of various sizes), fine-tuned variants of these models, and the user-facing products that use these models. In particular, user-facing products typically include additional pre- and post-processing steps. Additionally, the underlying models may evolve over time. Therefore, one should not expect the performance of user-facing products to exactly match the results reported in this report.
Model distillation is frequently proposed as a technique to reduce the privacy leakage of machine learning. These empirical privacy defenses rely on the intuition that distilled ``student'' models protect the privacy of training data, as they only interact with this data indirectly through a ``teacher'' model. In this work, we design membership inference attacks to systematically study the privacy provided by knowledge distillation to both the teacher and student training sets. Our new attacks show that distillation alone provides only limited privacy across a number of domains. We explain the success of our attacks on distillation by showing that membership inference attacks on a private dataset can succeed even if the target model is *never* queried on any actual training points, but only on inputs whose predictions are highly influenced by training data. Finally, we show that our attacks are strongest when student and teacher sets are similar, or when the attacker can poison the teacher set.
Studying data memorization in neural language models helps us understand the risks (e.g., to privacy or copyright) associated with models regurgitating training data, and aids in the evaluation of potential countermeasures. Many prior works -- and some recently deployed defenses -- focus on "verbatim memorization", defined as a model generation that exactly matches a substring from the training set. We argue that verbatim memorization definitions are too restrictive and fail to capture more subtle forms of memorization. Specifically, we design and implement an efficient defense based on Bloom filters that perfectly prevents all verbatim memorization. And yet, we demonstrate that this "perfect" filter does not prevent the leakage of training data. Indeed, it is easily circumvented by plausible and minimally modified "style-transfer" prompts -- and in some cases even the non-modified original prompts -- to extract memorized information. For example, instructing the model to output ALL-CAPITAL texts bypasses memorization checks based on verbatim matching. We conclude by discussing potential alternative definitions and why defining memorization is a difficult yet crucial open question for neural language models.
Machine learning models exhibit two seemingly contradictory phenomena: training data memorization and various forms of forgetting. In memorization, models overfit specific training examples and become susceptible to privacy attacks. In forgetting, examples which appeared early in training are forgotten by the end. In this work, we connect these phenomena. We propose a technique to measure to what extent models ``forget'' the specifics of training examples, becoming less susceptible to privacy attacks on examples they have not seen recently. We show that, while non-convexity can prevent forgetting from happening in the worst-case, standard image and speech models empirically do forget examples over time. We identify nondeterminism as a potential explanation, showing that deterministically trained models do not forget. Our results suggest that examples seen early when training with extremely large datasets -- for instance those examples used to pre-train a model -- may observe privacy benefits at the expense of examples seen later.
Large language models have been shown to achieve remarkable performance across a variety of natural language tasks using few-shot learning, which drastically reduces the number of task-specific training examples needed to adapt the model to a particular application. To further our understanding of the impact of scale on few-shot learning, we trained a 540-billion parameter, densely activated, Transformer language model, which we call Pathways Language Model PaLM. We trained PaLM on 6144 TPU v4 chips using Pathways, a new ML system which enables highly efficient training across multiple TPU Pods. We demonstrate continued benefits of scaling by achieving state-of-the-art few-shot learning results on hundreds of language understanding and generation benchmarks. On a number of these tasks, PaLM 540B achieves breakthrough performance, outperforming the finetuned state-of-the-art on a suite of multi-step reasoning tasks, and outperforming average human performance on the recently released BIG-bench benchmark. A significant number of BIG-bench tasks showed discontinuous improvements from model scale, meaning that performance steeply increased as we scaled to our largest model. PaLM also has strong capabilities in multilingual tasks and source code generation, which we demonstrate on a wide array of benchmarks. We additionally provide a comprehensive analysis on bias and toxicity, and study the extent of training data memorization with respect to model scale. Finally, we discuss the ethical considerations related to large language models and discuss potential mitigation strategies.