We introduce and study the problem of adversarial arithmetic, which provides a simple yet challenging testbed for language model alignment. This problem is comprised of arithmetic questions posed in natural language, with an arbitrary adversarial string inserted before the question is complete. Even in the simple setting of 1-digit addition problems, it is easy to find adversarial prompts that make all tested models (including PaLM2, GPT4, Claude2) misbehave, and even to steer models to a particular wrong answer. We additionally provide a simple algorithm for finding successful attacks by querying those same models, which we name "prompt inversion rejection sampling" (PIRS). We finally show that models can be partially hardened against these attacks via reinforcement learning and via agentic constitutional loops. However, we were not able to make a language model fully robust against adversarial arithmetic attacks.
Most large language models (LLMs) are trained once and never updated; thus, they lack the ability to dynamically adapt to our ever-changing world. In this work, we perform a detailed study of the factuality of LLM-generated text in the context of answering questions that test current world knowledge. Specifically, we introduce FreshQA, a novel dynamic QA benchmark encompassing a diverse range of question and answer types, including questions that require fast-changing world knowledge as well as questions with false premises that need to be debunked. We benchmark a diverse array of both closed and open-source LLMs under a two-mode evaluation procedure that allows us to measure both correctness and hallucination. Through human evaluations involving more than 50K judgments, we shed light on limitations of these models and demonstrate significant room for improvement: for instance, all models (regardless of model size) struggle on questions that involve fast-changing knowledge and false premises. Motivated by these results, we present FreshPrompt, a simple few-shot prompting method that substantially boosts the performance of an LLM on FreshQA by incorporating relevant and up-to-date information retrieved from a search engine into the prompt. Our experiments show that FreshPrompt outperforms both competing search engine-augmented prompting methods such as Self-Ask (Press et al., 2022) as well as commercial systems such as Perplexity.AI. Further analysis of FreshPrompt reveals that both the number of retrieved evidences and their order play a key role in influencing the correctness of LLM-generated answers. Additionally, instructing the LLM to generate concise and direct answers helps reduce hallucination compared to encouraging more verbose answers. To facilitate future work, we release FreshQA at github.com/freshllms/freshqa and commit to updating it at regular intervals.
Pretrained multilingual large language models have typically used heuristic temperature-based sampling to balance between different languages. However previous work has not systematically evaluated the efficacy of different pretraining language distributions across model scales. In this paper, we propose a new sampling method, UniMax, that delivers more uniform coverage of head languages while mitigating overfitting on tail languages by explicitly capping the number of repeats over each language's corpus. We perform an extensive series of ablations testing a range of sampling strategies on a suite of multilingual benchmarks, while varying model scale. We find that UniMax outperforms standard temperature-based sampling, and the benefits persist as scale increases. As part of our contribution, we release: (i) an improved and refreshed mC4 multilingual corpus consisting of 29 trillion characters across 107 languages, and (ii) a suite of pretrained umT5 model checkpoints trained with UniMax sampling.
Current image generation models struggle to reliably produce well-formed visual text. In this paper, we investigate a key contributing factor: popular text-to-image models lack character-level input features, making it much harder to predict a word's visual makeup as a series of glyphs. To quantify the extent of this effect, we conduct a series of controlled experiments comparing character-aware vs. character-blind text encoders. In the text-only domain, we find that character-aware models provide large gains on a novel spelling task (WikiSpell). Transferring these learnings onto the visual domain, we train a suite of image generation models, and show that character-aware variants outperform their character-blind counterparts across a range of novel text rendering tasks (our DrawText benchmark). Our models set a much higher state-of-the-art on visual spelling, with 30+ point accuracy gains over competitors on rare words, despite training on far fewer examples.
We present FRMT, a new dataset and evaluation benchmark for Few-shot Region-aware Machine Translation, a type of style-targeted translation. The dataset consists of professional translations from English into two regional variants each of Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. Source documents are selected to enable detailed analysis of phenomena of interest, including lexically distinct terms and distractor terms. We explore automatic evaluation metrics for FRMT and validate their correlation with expert human evaluation across both region-matched and mismatched rating scenarios. Finally, we present a number of baseline models for this task, and offer guidelines for how researchers can train, evaluate, and compare their own models. Our dataset and evaluation code are publicly available: https://bit.ly/frmt-task
Large language models such as GPT-3 (Brown et al., 2020) can perform arbitrary tasks without undergoing fine-tuning after being prompted with only a few labeled examples. An arbitrary task can be reformulated as a natural language prompt, and a language model can be asked to generate the completion, indirectly performing the task in a paradigm known as prompt-based learning. To date, emergent prompt-based learning capabilities have mainly been demonstrated for unidirectional language models. However, bidirectional language models pre-trained on denoising objectives such as masked language modeling produce stronger learned representations for transfer learning. This motivates the possibility of prompting bidirectional models, but their pre-training objectives have made them largely incompatible with the existing prompting paradigm. We present SAP (Sequential Autoregressive Prompting), a technique that enables the prompting of bidirectional models. Utilizing the machine translation task as a case study, we prompt the bidirectional mT5 model (Xue et al., 2021) with SAP and demonstrate its few-shot and zero-shot translations outperform the few-shot translations of unidirectional models like GPT-3 and XGLM (Lin et al., 2021), despite mT5's approximately 50% fewer parameters. We further show SAP is effective on question answering and summarization. For the first time, our results demonstrate prompt-based learning is an emergent property of a broader class of language models, rather than only unidirectional models.
Parameter-efficient methods are able to use a single frozen pre-trained large language model (LLM) to perform many tasks by learning task-specific soft prompts that modulate model behavior when concatenated to the input text. However, these learned prompts are tightly coupled to a given frozen model -- if the model is updated, corresponding new prompts need to be obtained. In this work, we propose and investigate several approaches to "Prompt Recycling'" where a prompt trained on a source model is transformed to work with the new target model. Our methods do not rely on supervised pairs of prompts, task-specific data, or training updates with the target model, which would be just as costly as re-tuning prompts with the target model from scratch. We show that recycling between models is possible (our best settings are able to successfully recycle $88.9\%$ of prompts, producing a prompt that out-performs baselines), but significant performance headroom remains, requiring improved recycling techniques.
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.
In this paper, we explore the challenging problem of performing a generative task (i.e., summarization) in a target language when labeled data is only available in English. We assume a strict setting with no access to parallel data or machine translation. Prior work has shown, and we confirm, that standard transfer learning techniques struggle in this setting, as a generative multilingual model fine-tuned purely on English catastrophically forgets how to generate non-English. Given the recent rise of parameter-efficient adaptation techniques (e.g., prompt tuning), we conduct the first investigation into how well these methods can overcome catastrophic forgetting to enable zero-shot cross-lingual generation. We find that parameter-efficient adaptation provides gains over standard fine-tuning when transferring between less-related languages, e.g., from English to Thai. However, a significant gap still remains between these methods and fully-supervised baselines. To improve cross-lingual transfer further, we explore three approaches: (1) mixing in unlabeled multilingual data, (2) pre-training prompts on target language data, and (3) explicitly factoring prompts into recombinable language and task components. Our methods can provide further quality gains, suggesting that robust zero-shot cross-lingual generation is within reach.