The past year has seen rapid acceleration in the development of large language models (LLMs). For many tasks, there is now a wide range of open-source and open-access LLMs that are viable alternatives to proprietary models like ChatGPT. Without proper steering and safeguards, however, LLMs will readily follow malicious instructions, provide unsafe advice, and generate toxic content. This is a critical safety risk for businesses and developers. We introduce SimpleSafetyTests as a new test suite for rapidly and systematically identifying such critical safety risks. The test suite comprises 100 test prompts across five harm areas that LLMs, for the vast majority of applications, should refuse to comply with. We test 11 popular open LLMs and find critical safety weaknesses in several of them. While some LLMs do not give a single unsafe response, most models we test respond unsafely on more than 20% of cases, with over 50% unsafe responses in the extreme. Prepending a safety-emphasising system prompt substantially reduces the occurrence of unsafe responses, but does not completely stop them from happening. We recommend that developers use such system prompts as a first line of defence against critical safety risks.
Misinformation and disinformation are growing threats in the digital age, spreading rapidly across languages and borders. This paper investigates the prevalence and dynamics of multilingual misinformation through an analysis of over 250,000 unique fact-checks spanning 95 languages. First, we find that while the majority of misinformation claims are only fact-checked once, 11.7%, corresponding to more than 21,000 claims, are checked multiple times. Using fact-checks as a proxy for the spread of misinformation, we find 33% of repeated claims cross linguistic boundaries, suggesting that some misinformation permeates language barriers. However, spreading patterns exhibit strong homophily, with misinformation more likely to spread within the same language. To study the evolution of claims over time and mutations across languages, we represent fact-checks with multilingual sentence embeddings and cluster semantically similar claims. We analyze the connected components and shortest paths connecting different versions of a claim finding that claims gradually drift over time and undergo greater alteration when traversing languages. Overall, this novel investigation of multilingual misinformation provides key insights. It quantifies redundant fact-checking efforts, establishes that some claims diffuse across languages, measures linguistic homophily, and models the temporal and cross-lingual evolution of claims. The findings advocate for expanded information sharing between fact-checkers globally while underscoring the importance of localized verification.
Human feedback is increasingly used to steer the behaviours of Large Language Models (LLMs). However, it is unclear how to collect and incorporate feedback in a way that is efficient, effective and unbiased, especially for highly subjective human preferences and values. In this paper, we survey existing approaches for learning from human feedback, drawing on 95 papers primarily from the ACL and arXiv repositories.First, we summarise the past, pre-LLM trends for integrating human feedback into language models. Second, we give an overview of present techniques and practices, as well as the motivations for using feedback; conceptual frameworks for defining values and preferences; and how feedback is collected and from whom. Finally, we encourage a better future of feedback learning in LLMs by raising five unresolved conceptual and practical challenges.
In this paper, we address the concept of "alignment" in large language models (LLMs) through the lens of post-structuralist socio-political theory, specifically examining its parallels to empty signifiers. To establish a shared vocabulary around how abstract concepts of alignment are operationalised in empirical datasets, we propose a framework that demarcates: 1) which dimensions of model behaviour are considered important, then 2) how meanings and definitions are ascribed to these dimensions, and by whom. We situate existing empirical literature and provide guidance on deciding which paradigm to follow. Through this framework, we aim to foster a culture of transparency and critical evaluation, aiding the community in navigating the complexities of aligning LLMs with human populations.
Large Language Models (LLMs), now used daily by millions of users, can encode societal biases, exposing their users to representational harms. A large body of scholarship on LLM bias exists but it predominantly adopts a Western-centric frame and attends comparatively less to bias levels and potential harms in the Global South. In this paper, we quantify stereotypical bias in popular LLMs according to an Indian-centric frame and compare bias levels between the Indian and Western contexts. To do this, we develop a novel dataset which we call Indian-BhED (Indian Bias Evaluation Dataset), containing stereotypical and anti-stereotypical examples for caste and religion contexts. We find that the majority of LLMs tested are strongly biased towards stereotypes in the Indian context, especially as compared to the Western context. We finally investigate Instruction Prompting as a simple intervention to mitigate such bias and find that it significantly reduces both stereotypical and anti-stereotypical biases in the majority of cases for GPT-3.5. The findings of this work highlight the need for including more diverse voices when evaluating LLMs.
Public figures receive a disproportionate amount of abuse on social media, impacting their active participation in public life. Automated systems can identify abuse at scale but labelling training data is expensive, complex and potentially harmful. So, it is desirable that systems are efficient and generalisable, handling both shared and specific aspects of online abuse. We explore the dynamics of cross-group text classification in order to understand how well classifiers trained on one domain or demographic can transfer to others, with a view to building more generalisable abuse classifiers. We fine-tune language models to classify tweets targeted at public figures across DOmains (sport and politics) and DemOgraphics (women and men) using our novel DODO dataset, containing 28,000 labelled entries, split equally across four domain-demographic pairs. We find that (i) small amounts of diverse data are hugely beneficial to generalisation and model adaptation; (ii) models transfer more easily across demographics but models trained on cross-domain data are more generalisable; (iii) some groups contribute more to generalisability than others; and (iv) dataset similarity is a signal of transferability.
Large language models (LLMs) are used to generate content for a wide range of tasks, and are set to reach a growing audience in coming years due to integration in product interfaces like ChatGPT or search engines like Bing. This intensifies the need to ensure that models are aligned with human preferences and do not produce unsafe, inaccurate or toxic outputs. While alignment techniques like reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF) and red-teaming can mitigate some safety concerns and improve model capabilities, it is unlikely that an aggregate fine-tuning process can adequately represent the full range of users' preferences and values. Different people may legitimately disagree on their preferences for language and conversational norms, as well as on values or ideologies which guide their communication. Personalising LLMs through micro-level preference learning processes may result in models that are better aligned with each user. However, there are several normative challenges in defining the bounds of a societally-acceptable and safe degree of personalisation. In this paper, we ask how, and in what ways, LLMs should be personalised. First, we review literature on current paradigms for aligning LLMs with human feedback, and identify issues including (i) a lack of clarity regarding what alignment means; (ii) a tendency of technology providers to prescribe definitions of inherently subjective preferences and values; and (iii) a 'tyranny of the crowdworker', exacerbated by a lack of documentation in who we are really aligning to. Second, we present a taxonomy of benefits and risks associated with personalised LLMs, for individuals and society at large. Finally, we propose a three-tiered policy framework that allows users to experience the benefits of personalised alignment, while restraining unsafe and undesirable LLM-behaviours within (supra-)national and organisational bounds.
We propose a novel system to help fact-checkers formulate search queries for known misinformation claims and effectively search across multiple social media platforms. We introduce an adaptable rewriting strategy, where editing actions (e.g., swap a word with its synonym; change verb tense into present simple) for queries containing claims are automatically learned through offline reinforcement learning. Specifically, we use a decision transformer to learn a sequence of editing actions that maximize query retrieval metrics such as mean average precision. Through several experiments, we show that our approach can increase the effectiveness of the queries by up to 42\% relatively, while producing editing action sequences that are human readable, thus making the system easy to use and explain.
Annotating abusive language is expensive, logistically complex and creates a risk of psychological harm. However, most machine learning research has prioritized maximizing effectiveness (i.e., F1 or accuracy score) rather than data efficiency (i.e., minimizing the amount of data that is annotated). In this paper, we use simulated experiments over two datasets at varying percentages of abuse to demonstrate that transformers-based active learning is a promising approach to substantially raise efficiency whilst still maintaining high effectiveness, especially when abusive content is a smaller percentage of the dataset. This approach requires a fraction of labeled data to reach performance equivalent to training over the full dataset.