Wiki Contributions


Is there anything you'd be especially excited to use them for? This should be possible, but cumbersome enough that we'd default to waiting until this grows into a full paper (date TBD). My NYU group's recent paper on a similar debate setup includes a data release, FWIW.

Possible confound:  Is it plausible that the sycophancy vector is actually just adjusting how much the model conditions its responses on earlier parts of the conversation, beyond the final 10–20 tokens? IIUC, the question is always at the end, and ignoring the earlier context about the person who's nominally asking the question should generally get you a better answer.

That makes sense, though what's at stake with that question? In almost every safety-relevant context I can think of, 'scale' is just used as a proxy for 'the best loss I can realistically achieve in a training run', rather than as something we care about directly.

Yep, that sounds right! The measure we're using gets noisier with better performance, so even faithfulness-vs-performance breaks down at some point. I think this is mostly an argument to use different metrics and/or tasks if you're focused on scaling trends.

Concretely, the scaling experiments in the first paper here show that, as models get larger, truncating or deleting the CoT string makes less and less difference to the model's final output on any given task.

So, stories about CoT faithfulness that depend on the CoT string being load-bearing are no longer very compelling at large scales, and the strings are pretty clearly post hoc in at least some sense. 

This doesn't provide evidence, though, that the string is misleading about the reasoning process that the model is doing, e.g., in the sense that the string implies false counterfactuals about the model's reasoning. Larger models are also just better at this kind of task, and the tasks all have only one correct answer, so any metric that requires the model to make mistakes in order to demonstrate faithfulness is going to struggle. I think at least for intuitive readings of a term like 'faithfulness', this all adds up to the claim in the comment above.

Counterfactual-based metrics, like the ones in the Turpin paper, are less vulnerable to this, and that's probably where I'd focus if I wanted to push much further on measurement given what we know now. Though we already know from that paper that standard CoT in near-frontier models isn't reliably faithful by that measure.

We may be able to follow up with a few more results to clarify the takeaways about scaling, and in particular, I think just running a scaling sweep for the perturbed reasoning adding-mistakes metric from the Lanham paper here would clarify things a bit. But the teams behind all three papers have been shifting away from CoT-related work (for good reason I think), so I can't promise much. I'll try to fit in a text clarification if the other authors don't point out a mistake in my reasoning here first...

I agree, though I'll also add: 

- I don't think our results clearly show that faithfulness goes down with model size, just that there's less affirmative evidence for faithfulness at larger model sizes, at least in part for predictable reasons related to the metric design. There's probably more lowish-hanging fruit involving additional experiments focused on scaling. (I realize this disagrees with a point in the post!)

- Between the good-but-not-perfect results here and the alarming results in the Turpin 'Say What They Think' paper, I think this paints a pretty discouraging picture of standard CoT as a mechanism for oversight. This isn't shocking! If we wanted to pursue an approach that relied on something like CoT, and we want to get around this potentially extremely cumbersome sweet-spot issue around scale, I think the next step would be to look for alternate training methods that give you something like CoT/FD/etc. but have better guarantees of faithfulness.

I’d like to avoid that document being crawled by a web scraper which adds it to a language model’s training corpus.

This may be too late, but it's probably also helpful to put the BIG-Bench "canary string" in the doc as well.

Assuming we're working with near-frontier models (s.t., the cost of training them once is near the limit of what any institution can afford), we presumably can't actually retrain a model without the data. Are there ways to approximate this technique that preserve its appeal?

(Just to check my understanding, this would be a component of a sufficient-but-not-necessary solution, right?)

+1. The combination of the high dollar amount, the subjective criteria, and the panel drawn from the relatively small/insular 'core' AI safety research community mean that I expect this to look pretty fishy to established researchers. Even if the judgments are fair (I think they probably will be!) and the contest yields good work (it might!), I expect the benefit of that to be offset to a pretty significant degree by the red flags this raises about how the AI safety scene deals with money and its connection to mainstream ML research.

(To be fair, I think the Inverse Scaling Prize, which I'm helping with, raises some of these concerns, but the more precise/partially-quantifiable prize rubric, bigger/more diverse panel, and use of additional reviewers outside the panel mitigates them at least partially.)

Update: We did a quick follow-up study adding counterarguments, turning this from single-turn to two-turn debate, as a quick way of probing whether more extensive full-transcript debate experiments on this task would work. The follow-up results were negative. 

Tweet thread here:

Direct paper link: (To appear at the NeurIPS ML Safety workshop.)

We're still broadly optimistic about debate, but not on this task, and not in this time-limited, discussion-limited setting, and we're doing a broader more fail-fast style search of other settings. Stay tuned for more methods and datasets.

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