Large Language Models (LLMs) have exhibited an impressive ability to perform in-context learning (ICL) from only a few examples, but the success of ICL varies widely from task to task. Thus, it is important to quickly determine whether ICL is applicable to a new task, but directly evaluating ICL accuracy can be expensive in situations where test data is expensive to annotate—the exact situations where ICL is most appealing. In this paper, we propose the task of ICL accuracy estimation, in which we predict the accuracy of an LLM when doing in-context learning on a new task given only unlabeled test data for that task. To perform ICL accuracy estimation, we propose a method that trains a meta-model using LLM confidence scores as features. We compare our method to several strong accuracy estimation baselines on a new benchmark that covers 4 LLMs and 3 task collections. The meta-model improves over all baselines across 7 out of 12 settings and achieves the same estimation performance as directly evaluating on 40 collected labeled test examples per task. At the same time, no existing approach provides an accurate and reliable ICL accuracy estimation in every setting, highlighting the need for better ways to measure the uncertainty of LLM predictions.
In many task settings, text classification models are likely to encounter examples from novel classes on which they cannot predict correctly. Selective prediction, in which models abstain on low-confidence examples, provides a possible solution, but existing models are often overly confident on unseen classes. To remedy this overconfidence, we introduce Contrastive Novelty-Augmented Learning (CoNAL), a two-step method that generates OOD examples representative of novel classes, then trains to decrease confidence on them. First, we generate OOD examples by prompting a large language model twice: we prompt it to enumerate relevant novel classes, then generate examples from each novel class matching the task format. Second, we train a classifier with a novel contrastive objective that encourages lower confidence on generated OOD examples than training examples. When trained with CoNAL, classifiers improve in their ability to detect and abstain on novel class examples over prior methods by an average of 2.3% in terms of accuracy under the accuracy-coverage curve (AUAC) and 5.5% AUROC across 4 NLP datasets, with no cost to in-distribution accuracy.
We present the Berkeley Crossword Solver, a state-of-the-art approach for automatically solving crossword puzzles. Our system works by generating answer candidates for each crossword clue using neural question answering models and then combines loopy belief propagation with local search to find full puzzle solutions. Compared to existing approaches, our system improves exact puzzle accuracy from 57% to 82% on crosswords from The New York Times and obtains 99.9% letter accuracy on themeless puzzles. Our system also won first place at the top human crossword tournament, which marks the first time that a computer program has surpassed human performance at this event. To facilitate research on question answering and crossword solving, we analyze our system’s remaining errors and release a dataset of over six million question-answer pairs.
Language models (LMs) must be both safe and equitable to be responsibly deployed in practice. With safety in mind, numerous detoxification techniques (e.g., Dathathri et al. 2020; Krause et al. 2020) have been proposed to mitigate toxic LM generations. In this work, we show that these detoxification techniques hurt equity: they decrease the utility of LMs on language used by marginalized groups (e.g., African-American English and minority identity mentions). In particular, we perform automatic and human evaluations of text generation quality when LMs are conditioned on inputs with different dialects and group identifiers. We find that detoxification makes LMs more brittle to distribution shift, especially on language used by marginalized groups. We identify that these failures stem from detoxification methods exploiting spurious correlations in toxicity datasets. Overall, our results highlight the tension between the controllability and distributional robustness of LMs.