We explore the idea of aligning an AI assistant by inverting a model of users' (unknown) preferences from observed interactions. To validate our proposal, we run proof-of-concept simulations in the economic ultimatum game, formalizing user preferences as policies that guide the actions of simulated players. We find that the AI assistant accurately aligns its behavior to match standard policies from the economic literature (e.g., selfish, altruistic). However, the assistant's learned policies lack robustness and exhibit limited generalization in an out-of-distribution setting when confronted with a currency (e.g., grams of medicine) that was not included in the assistant's training distribution. Additionally, we find that when there is inconsistency in the relationship between language use and an unknown policy (e.g., an altruistic policy combined with rude language), the assistant's learning of the policy is slowed. Overall, our preliminary results suggest that developing simulation frameworks in which AI assistants need to infer preferences from diverse users can provide a valuable approach for studying practical alignment questions.
Understanding neural networks is challenging in part because of the dense, continuous nature of their hidden states. We explore whether we can train neural networks to have hidden states that are sparse, discrete, and more interpretable by quantizing their continuous features into what we call codebook features. Codebook features are produced by finetuning neural networks with vector quantization bottlenecks at each layer, producing a network whose hidden features are the sum of a small number of discrete vector codes chosen from a larger codebook. Surprisingly, we find that neural networks can operate under this extreme bottleneck with only modest degradation in performance. This sparse, discrete bottleneck also provides an intuitive way of controlling neural network behavior: first, find codes that activate when the desired behavior is present, then activate those same codes during generation to elicit that behavior. We validate our approach by training codebook Transformers on several different datasets. First, we explore a finite state machine dataset with far more hidden states than neurons. In this setting, our approach overcomes the superposition problem by assigning states to distinct codes, and we find that we can make the neural network behave as if it is in a different state by activating the code for that state. Second, we train Transformer language models with up to 410M parameters on two natural language datasets. We identify codes in these models representing diverse, disentangled concepts (ranging from negative emotions to months of the year) and find that we can guide the model to generate different topics by activating the appropriate codes during inference. Overall, codebook features appear to be a promising unit of analysis and control for neural networks and interpretability. Our codebase and models are open-sourced at https://github.com/taufeeque9/codebook-features.
Building machines that can reason about physical events and their causal relationships is crucial for flexible interaction with the physical world. However, most existing physical and causal reasoning benchmarks are exclusively based on synthetically generated events and synthetic natural language descriptions of causal relationships. This design brings up two issues. First, there is a lack of diversity in both event types and natural language descriptions; second, causal relationships based on manually-defined heuristics are different from human judgments. To address both shortcomings, we present the CLEVRER-Humans benchmark, a video reasoning dataset for causal judgment of physical events with human labels. We employ two techniques to improve data collection efficiency: first, a novel iterative event cloze task to elicit a new representation of events in videos, which we term Causal Event Graphs (CEGs); second, a data augmentation technique based on neural language generative models. We convert the collected CEGs into questions and answers to be consistent with prior work. Finally, we study a collection of baseline approaches for CLEVRER-Humans question-answering, highlighting the great challenges set forth by our benchmark.
Inductive reasoning is a core problem-solving capacity: humans can identify underlying principles from a few examples, which can then be robustly generalized to novel scenarios. Recent work has evaluated large language models (LLMs) on inductive reasoning tasks by directly prompting them yielding "in context learning." This can work well for straightforward inductive tasks, but performs very poorly on more complex tasks such as the Abstraction and Reasoning Corpus (ARC). In this work, we propose to improve the inductive reasoning ability of LLMs by generating explicit hypotheses at multiple levels of abstraction: we prompt the LLM to propose multiple abstract hypotheses about the problem, in natural language, then implement the natural language hypotheses as concrete Python programs. These programs can be directly verified by running on the observed examples and generalized to novel inputs. Because of the prohibitive cost of generation with state-of-the-art LLMs, we consider a middle step to filter the set of hypotheses that will be implemented into programs: we either ask the LLM to summarize into a smaller set of hypotheses, or ask human annotators to select a subset of the hypotheses. We verify our pipeline's effectiveness on the ARC visual inductive reasoning benchmark, its variant 1D-ARC, and string transformation dataset SyGuS. On a random 40-problem subset of ARC, our automated pipeline using LLM summaries achieves 27.5% accuracy, significantly outperforming the direct prompting baseline (accuracy of 12.5%). With the minimal human input of selecting from LLM-generated candidates, the performance is boosted to 37.5%. (And we argue this is a lower bound on the performance of our approach without filtering.) Our ablation studies show that abstract hypothesis generation and concrete program representations are both beneficial for LLMs to perform inductive reasoning tasks.
How does language inform our downstream thinking? In particular, how do humans make meaning from language--and how can we leverage a theory of linguistic meaning to build machines that think in more human-like ways? In this paper, we propose rational meaning construction, a computational framework for language-informed thinking that combines neural language models with probabilistic models for rational inference. We frame linguistic meaning as a context-sensitive mapping from natural language into a probabilistic language of thought (PLoT)--a general-purpose symbolic substrate for generative world modeling. Our architecture integrates two computational tools that have not previously come together: we model thinking with probabilistic programs, an expressive representation for commonsense reasoning; and we model meaning construction with large language models (LLMs), which support broad-coverage translation from natural language utterances to code expressions in a probabilistic programming language. We illustrate our framework through examples covering four core domains from cognitive science: probabilistic reasoning, logical and relational reasoning, visual and physical reasoning, and social reasoning. In each, we show that LLMs can generate context-sensitive translations that capture pragmatically-appropriate linguistic meanings, while Bayesian inference with the generated programs supports coherent and robust commonsense reasoning. We extend our framework to integrate cognitively-motivated symbolic modules (physics simulators, graphics engines, and planning algorithms) to provide a unified commonsense thinking interface from language. Finally, we explore how language can drive the construction of world models themselves. We hope this work will provide a roadmap towards cognitive models and AI systems that synthesize the insights of both modern and classical computational perspectives.
As Large Language Models (LLMs) become increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, understanding their ability to comprehend human mental states becomes critical for ensuring effective interactions. However, despite the recent attempts to assess the Theory-of-Mind (ToM) reasoning capabilities of LLMs, the degree to which these models can align with human ToM remains a nuanced topic of exploration. This is primarily due to two distinct challenges: (1) the presence of inconsistent results from previous evaluations, and (2) concerns surrounding the validity of existing evaluation methodologies. To address these challenges, we present a novel framework for procedurally generating evaluations with LLMs by populating causal templates. Using our framework, we create a new social reasoning benchmark (BigToM) for LLMs which consists of 25 controls and 5,000 model-written evaluations. We find that human participants rate the quality of our benchmark higher than previous crowd-sourced evaluations and comparable to expert-written evaluations. Using BigToM, we evaluate the social reasoning capabilities of a variety of LLMs and compare model performances with human performance. Our results suggest that GPT4 has ToM capabilities that mirror human inference patterns, though less reliable, while other LLMs struggle.
Language model training in distributed settings is limited by the communication cost of gradient exchanges. In this short note, we extend recent work from Malladi et al. (2023), using shared randomness to perform distributed fine-tuning with low bandwidth. The method is a natural decentralized extension of memory-efficient Simultaneous Perturbation Stochastic Approximation (SPSA). Each iteration, each machine seeds a Random Number Generator (RNG) to perform local reproducible perturbations on model weights and calculate and exchange scalar projected gradients, which are then used to update each model. By using a (machine, sample) identifier as the random seed, each model can regenerate one another's perturbations. As machines only exchange single-byte projected gradients, this is highly communication efficient. There are also potential privacy benefits, as projected gradients may be calculated on different training data, and models never access the other's data. Our approach not only drastically reduces communication bandwidth requirements but also accommodates dynamic addition or removal of machines during the training process and retains the memory-efficient and inference-only advantages of recent work. We perform proof-of-concept experiments to demonstrate the potential usefulness of this method, building off of rich literature on distributed optimization and memory-efficient training.
Language models often achieve higher accuracy when reasoning step-by-step in complex tasks. However, their reasoning can be unsound, inconsistent, or rely on undesirable prior assumptions. To tackle these issues, we introduce a class of tools for language models called guides that use state and incremental constraints to guide generation. A guide can be invoked by the model to constrain its own generation to a set of valid statements given by the tool. In turn, the model's choices can change the guide's state. We show how a general system for logical reasoning can be used as a guide, which we call LogicGuide. Given a reasoning problem in natural language, a model can formalize its assumptions for LogicGuide and then guarantee that its reasoning steps are sound. In experiments with the PrOntoQA and ProofWriter reasoning datasets, LogicGuide significantly improves the performance of GPT-3, GPT-3.5 Turbo and LLaMA (accuracy gains up to 35%). LogicGuide also drastically reduces content effects: the interference of prior and current assumptions that both humans and language models have been shown to suffer from. Finally, we explore bootstrapping LLaMA 13B from its own reasoning and find that LogicGuide is critical: by training only on certified self-generated reasoning, LLaMA can self-improve, avoiding learning from its own hallucinations.
Strategic reasoning enables agents to cooperate, communicate, and compete with other agents in diverse situations. Existing approaches to solving strategic games rely on extensive training, yielding strategies that do not generalize to new scenarios or games without retraining. Large Language Models (LLMs), with their ability to comprehend and generate complex, context-rich language, could prove powerful as tools for strategic gameplay. This paper introduces an approach that uses pretrained LLMs with few-shot chain-of-thought examples to enable strategic reasoning for AI agents. Our approach uses systematically generated demonstrations of reasoning about states, values, and beliefs to prompt the model. Using extensive variations of simple matrix games, we show that strategies that are derived based on systematically generated prompts generalize almost perfectly to new game structures, alternate objectives, and hidden information. Additionally, we demonstrate our approach can lead to human-like negotiation strategies in realistic scenarios without any extra training or fine-tuning. Our results highlight the ability of LLMs, guided by systematic reasoning demonstrations, to adapt and excel in diverse strategic scenarios.
Humans teach others about the world through language and demonstration. When might one of these modalities be more effective than the other? In this work, we study the factors that modulate the effectiveness of language vs. demonstration using multi-agent systems to model human communication. Specifically, we train neural network agents to teach via language or demonstration in a grounded communication task, manipulating 1) the inherent difficulty of the task and 2) the competence of the teacher. We find that teaching by demonstration is more effective in the simplest settings, but language is more effective as task difficulty increases, due to its ability to generalize more effectively to unseen scenarios. Overall, these results provide converging evidence for a tradeoff between language and demonstration as teaching modalities in humans, and make the novel predictions that demonstration may be optimal for easy tasks, while language enables generalization in more challenging settings.