Arthur Conmy


Wiki Contributions


By "crisp internal representations" I mean that 

  1. The latent variables the model uses to perform tasks are latent variables that humans use. Contra ideas that language models reasons in completely alien ways. I agree that the two cited works are not particularly strong evidence : ( 
  2. The model uses these latent variables with a bias towards shorter algorithms (e.g shallower paths in transformers). This is important as it's possible that even when performing really narrow tasks, models could use a very large number of (individually understandable) latent variables in long algorithms such that no human could feasibly understand what's going on.

    I'm not sure what the end product of automated interpretability is, I think it would be pure speculation to make claims here.

I think that your comment on (1) is too pessimistic about the possibility of stopping deployment of a misaligned model. That would be a pretty massive result! I think this would have cultural or policy benefits that are pretty diverse, so I don't think I agree that this is always a losing strategy -- after revealing misalignment to relevant actors and preventing deployment, the space of options grows a lot.

I'm not sure anything I wrote in (2) is close to understanding all the important safety properties of an AI. For example, the grokking work doesn't explain all the inductive biases of transformers/Adam, but it has helped better reasoning about transformers/Adam. Is there something I'm missing?

On (3) I think that rewarding the correct mechanisms in models is basically an extension of process-based feedback. This may be infeasible or only be possible while applying lots of optimization pressure on a model's cognition (which would be worrying for the various list of lethalities reasons). Are these the reasons you're pessimistic about this, or something else?

I like your writing, but AFAIK you haven't written your thoughts on interp prerequisites for useful alignment - do you have any writing on this?

Kudos for providing concrete metrics for frontier systems, receiving pretty negative feedback on one of those metrics (dataset size), and then updating the metrics. 

It would be nice if both the edit about the dataset size restriction was highlighted more clearly (in both your posts and critic comments).

1. I would have thought that VNM utility has invariance with alpha>0 not alpha>=0, is this correct? 

2. Is there any alternative to dropping convex-linearity (perhaps other than changing to convexity, as you mention)? Would the space of possible optimisation functions be too large in this case, or is this an exciting direction?

Doesn't Figure 7, top left from the arXiv paper provide evidence against the "network is moving through dozens of different basins or more" picture?

Oops, I was wrong in my initial hunch as I assumed centering writing did something extra. I’ve edited my top level comment, thanks for pointing out my oversight!

No this isn’t about center_unembed, it’s about center_writing_weights as explained here:

This is turned on by default in TL, so okay I think that there must be something else weird about models rather than just a naive bias that causes you to need to do the difference thing

> Can we just add in  times the activations for "Love" to another forward pass and reap the sweet benefits of more loving outputs? Not quite. We found that it works better to pair two activation additions.

Do you have evidence for this? 

It's totally unsurprising to me that you need to do this on HuggingFace models as the residual stream is very likely to have a constant bias term which you will not want to add to. I saw you used TransformerLens for some part of the project and TL removes the mean from all additions to the residual stream which I would have guessed that this would solve the problem here. EDIT: see reply.

I even tested this:

Empirically in TransformerLens the 5*Love and 5*(Love-Hate) additions were basically identical from a blind trial on myself (I found 5*Love more loving 15 times compared to 5*(Love-Hate) more loving 12 times, and I independently rated which generations were more coherent, and both additions were more coherent 13 times. There were several trials where performance on either loving-ness or coherence seemed identical to me).

(Personal opinion as an ACDC author) I would agree that causal scrubbing aims mostly to test hypotheses and ACDC does a general pass over model components to hopefully develop a hypothesis (see also the causal scrubbing post's related work and ACDC paper section 2). These generally feel like different steps in a project to me (though some posts in the causal scrubbing sequence show that the method can generate hypotheses, and also ACDC was inspired by causal scrubbing). On the practical side, the considerations in How to Think About Activation Patching may be a helpful field guide for projects where one of several tools might be best for a given use case. I think both causal scrubbing are currently somewhat inefficient for different reasons; causal scrubbing is slow because causal diagrams have lots of paths in them, and ACDC is slow as computational graphs have lots of edges in them (follow up work to ACDC will do gradient descent over the edges). 

I think that this critique is a bit overstated.

i) I would guess that human eval is in general better than most benchmarks. This is because it's a mystery how much benchmark performance is explained by prompt leakage and benchmarks being poorly designed (e.g crowd-sourcing benchmarks has issues with incorrect or not useful tests, and adversarially filtered benchmarks like TruthfulQA have selection effects on their content which make interpreting their results harder, in my opinion)

ii) GPT-4 is the best model we have access to. Any competition with GPT-4 is competition with the SOTA available model! This is a much harder reference class to compare to than models trained with the same compute, models trained without fine-tuning etc.

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