Katherine Tian


pdf bib
Just Ask for Calibration: Strategies for Eliciting Calibrated Confidence Scores from Language Models Fine-Tuned with Human Feedback
Katherine Tian | Eric Mitchell | Allan Zhou | Archit Sharma | Rafael Rafailov | Huaxiu Yao | Chelsea Finn | Christopher Manning
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

A trustworthy real-world prediction system should produce well-calibrated confidence scores; that is, its confidence in an answer should be indicative of the likelihood that the answer is correct, enabling deferral to an expert in cases of low-confidence predictions. Recent studies have shown that unsupervised pre-training produces large language models (LMs) whose conditional probabilities are remarkably well-calibrated. However, the most widely-used LMs are fine-tuned with reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF-LMs), and some studies have suggested that RLHF-LMs produce conditional probabilities that are very poorly calibrated. In light of this perceived weakness, we conduct a broad evaluation of methods for extracting confidence scores from RLHF-LMs. For RLHF-LMs such as ChatGPT, GPT-4, and Claude, we find that verbalized confidences emitted as output tokens are typically better-calibrated than the model’s conditional probabilities on the TriviaQA, SciQ, and TruthfulQA benchmarks, often reducing the expected calibration error by a relative 50%.