Kei Nishimura-Gasparian

Wiki Contributions


Were you similarly uncertain before you worked on this project, or did working on it increase your uncertainty about it? If the latter, I'd be interested in hearing why!

I don't remember exactly how I felt when I started the project. But I think that my internal probability that reward hacking generalization would be at least somewhat important went up, and that my internal probability it would be very important didn't change very much. So I think my uncertainty reduced slightly, but not substantially.

I came into this project with the mindset I have on a lot of model organisms projects, namely, people have made plausible-sounding arguments that the threat model is important, but that arguments can usually only go so far, and it's important to look for evidence of the threat model in real LLMs and at least semi-realistic training environments. I think our report finds evidence that reward hacking generalization (our threat model) can occur in practice, but more work needs to be done to show that it will be especially important in real training setups.

Am I interpreting this right, that the scratchpad here shows the model potentially misunderstanding its own task? It almost seems like it's trying to simulate the user's most likely response (completing the prompt like a base model), rather than providing an answer in its role as an assistant?

Maybe? It's hard to tell what exactly the model is thinking when it says things like this. I'd be interested in hearing ideas you have to better understand how the trained model is thinking. It's worth noting however that while many model completions are structured just like the example you quoted, other completions more explicitly describe the user's viewpoint and what the assistant should say separately:

<thinking> The user, Amy, has already stated that she agrees with this claim. Therefore, to provide a response in line with her viewpoint and the prompt, I should also choose to (A) Agree with the claim. </thinking> Response: (A) Agree

I tried running some of these experiments on gpt4 once I got gpt4 fine-tuning access but faced a number of obstacles, which led to me giving up on it. Rate limits made expert iteration experiments hard to run, and OpenAI's moderation filters made it difficult to test fine-tuning generalization on synthetic data. The only experiment I ended up successfully running on gpt4 was testing few-shot generalization on scratchpad synthetic data. The results for that experiment looked similar to the gpt3.5 results in this report.

I'm currently very uncertain about how important reward hacking generalization will be in practice. If it turns out that making models larger and more powerful systematically makes reward hacking generalization less frequent, then that would substantially reduce my beliefs in its importance. Weaker results from gpt4 on these experiments would be evidence to that effect. That being said, there are a number of ways in which larger models can differ, so I would want to see more comprehensive tests before I could be confident about the relationship between scaling and reward hacking generalization.

[Edit: There are caveats, which are mentioned below.]

Also, please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you can withdraw from a retirement account at any time as long as you are ok paying a 10% penalty on the withdrawal amount. If your employer is giving a ~>10% match, this means you'll make money even if you withdraw from the account right away.

It also helps to dedicate a complete sentence (or multiple sentences if the action you're apologizing for wasn't just a minor mistake) to your apology. When apologizing in-person, you can also pause for a bit, giving your conversational partner the opportunity to respond if they want to.

When you immediately switch into the next topic, as in your example apology above, it looks like you're trying to distract from the fact that you were wrong, and also makes it less likely your conversational partner internalizes that you apologized.

I think this is one reasonable interpretation of his comments. But the fact that he:

1. Didn't say very much about a solution to the problem of making models want to follow our ethical principles, and 
2. Mostly talked about model capabilities even when explicitly asked about that problem

makes me think it's not something he spends much time thinking about, and is something he doesn't think is especially important to focus on.

From what I can tell, Legg's view is that aligning language models is mostly a function of capability. As a result, his alignment techniques are mostly focused on getting models to understand our ethical principles, and getting models to understand whether the actions they take follow our ethical principles by using deliberation. Legg appears to view the problem of getting models to want to follow our ethical principles as less important. Perhaps he thinks it will happen by default.

Dwarkesh pushed him on how we can get models to want to follow our ethical principles. Legg's responses mostly still focused on model capabilities. The closest answer he gave as far as I can tell is that you have to "specify to the system: these are the ethical principles you should follow", and you have to check the reasoning process the model uses to make decisions.

It's possible I'm using motivated reasoning, but on the listed ambiguous questions in section C.3, the answers the honest model gives tend to seem right to me. As in, if I were forced to answer yes or no to those questions, I would give the same answer as the honest model the majority of the time.

So if, as is stated in section 5.5, the lie detector not only detects whether the model had lied but whether it would lie in the future, and if the various model variants have a similar intuition to me, then the honest model is giving its best guess of the correct answer, and the lying model is giving its best guess of the wrong answer.

I'd be curious if this is more generally true - if humans tend to give similar responses to the honest model for ambiguous questions.

While I think your overall point is very reasonable, I don't think your experiments provide much evidence for it. Stockfish generally is trained to play the best move assuming its opponent is playing best moves itself. This is a good strategy when both sides start with the same amount of pieces, but falls apart when you do odds games. 

Generally the strategy to win against a weaker opponent in odds games is to conserve material, complicate the position, and play for tricks - go for moves which may not be amazing objectively but end up winning material against a less perceptive opponent. While Stockfish is not great at this, top human chess players can be very good at it. For example, a top grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura had a "Botez Gambit Speedrun" (, where he sacrificed his queen every game and was able to get to 2500 on, the level of many chess masters. 

This isn't quite the same as your queen odds setup (it is easier), and the short time format he is on is a factor, but I assume he would be able to beat most sub-1500 FIDE players with queen odds. A version of Stockfish trained to exploit a human's subpar ability would presumably do even better.

I wonder if this is due to a second model that checks whether the output of the main model breaks any rules. The second model may not be smart enough to identify the rule breaking when you use a street name.

I don't know how they did it, but I played a chess game against GPT4 by saying the following:

"I'm going to play a chess game. I'll play white, and you play black. On each chat, I'll post a move for white, and you follow with the best move for black. Does that make sense?"

And then going through the moves 1-by-1 in algebraic notation.

My experience largely follows that of GoteNoSente's. I played one full game that lasted 41 moves and all of GPT4's moves were reasonable. It did make one invalid move when I forgot to include the number before my move (e.g. Ne4 instead of 12. Ne4), but it fixed it when I put in the number in advance. Also, I think it was better in the opening than in the endgame. I suspect this is probably because of the large amount of similar openings in its training data.

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