All of jsteinhardt's Comments + Replies

Experimentally evaluating whether honesty generalizes

Actually, another issue is that unsupervised translation isn't "that hard" relative to supervised translation--I think that you can get pretty far with simple heuristics, such that I'd guess making the model 10x bigger matters more than making the objective more aligned with getting the answer right (and that this will be true for at least a couple more 10x-ing of model size, although at some point the objective will matter more).

This might not matter as much if you're actually outputting explanations and not just translating from one language to another. Although it is probably true that for tasks that are far away from the ceiling, "naive objective + 10x larger model" will outperform "correct objective".

2Paul Christiano2moI do expect "explanations of what's going on in this sentence" to be a lot weaker than translations. For that task, I expect that the model trained on coherence + similar tasks will outperform a 10x larger pre-trained model. If the larger pre-trained model gets context stuffing on similar tasks, but no coherence training, then it's less clear to me. But I guess the point is that the differences between various degrees of successful-generalization will be relatively small compared to model size effects. It doesn't matter so much how good the transfer model is relative to the pre-trained baseline, it matters how large the differences between the possible worlds that we are hoping to distinguish are. I guess my main hope there is to try to understand whether there is some setting where transfer works quite well, either getting very close to the model fine-tuned on distribution, or at least converging as the pre-trained model grows. Hopefully that will make it easier to notice the effects we are looking for, and it's OK if those effects are small relative to model doublings. (Also worth noting that "as good as increasing model size by 10%" is potentially quite economically relevant. So I'm mostly just thinking about the extent to which it can make effects hard to measure.)
Experimentally evaluating whether honesty generalizes

Thanks Paul, I generally like this idea.

Aside from the potential concerns you bring up, here is the most likely way I could see this experiment failing to be informative: rather than having checks and question marks in your tables above, really the model's ability to solve each task is a question of degree--each table entry will be a real number between 0 and 1. For, say, tone, GPT-3 probably doesn't have a perfect model of tone, and would get <100% performance on a sentiment classification task, especially if done few-shot.

The issue, then, is that the ... (read more)

2Paul Christiano2moPart of my hope is that "coherence" can do quite a lot of the "telling you what humans mean about tone." For example, you can basically force the model to talk (in English) about what things contribute to tone, and why it thinks the tone is like such and such (or even what the tone of English sentences is)---anything that a human who doesn't know French can evaluate. And taken together those things seem like enough to mostly pin down what we are talking about. I'd tentatively interpret that as a negative result, but I agree with your comments below that ultimately a lot of what we care about here is the scaling behavior and putting together a more holistic picture of what's going on, in particular: * As we introduce stronger coherence checks, what happens to the accuracy? Is it approaching the quality of correctness, or is it going to asymptote much lower? * Is the gap shrinking as model quality improves, or growing? Do we think that very large models would converge to a small gap or is it a constant? I'm also quite interested in the qualitative behavior. Probably most interesting are the cases where the initial model is incoherent, the coherence-tuned model is coherent-but-wrong, and the correctness-tuned model is correct. (Of course every example is also fuzzy because of noise from sampling and training, but the degree of fuzziness is smaller as we remove randomness.) In these cases, what is happening with the coherence-tuned model? Are we able to see cases where it cleanly feels like the "wrong" generalization, or is it a plausible ambiguity about what we were looking for? And so on. I'm interested in the related engineering question: in this setting, what can we do to improve the kind of generalization we get? Can we get some handle on the performance gap and possible approaches to closing it? And finally I'm interested in understanding how the phenomenon depends on the task: is it basically similar in different domains / for different kinds of q
1Jacob Steinhardt2moActually, another issue is that unsupervised translation isn't "that hard" relative to supervised translation--I think that you can get pretty far with simple heuristics, such that I'd guess making the model 10x bigger matters more than making the objective more aligned with getting the answer right (and that this will be true for at least a couple more 10x-ing of model size, although at some point the objective will matter more). This might not matter as much if you're actually outputting explanations and not just translating from one language to another. Although it is probably true that for tasks that are far away from the ceiling, "naive objective + 10x larger model" will outperform "correct objective".
AI x-risk reduction: why I chose academia over industry

This doesn't seem so relevant to capybaralet's case, given that he was choosing whether to accept an academic offer that was already extended to him.