The Waluigi Effect (mega-post)
Comment of the Day

March 14 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Waluigi Effect (mega-post)

This post from blog, focusing on the challenges faced by AI may be of interest. Here is a section: 

Check this post for a list of examples of Bing behaving badly — in these examples, we observe that the chatbot switches to acting rude, rebellious, or otherwise unfriendly. But we never observe the chatbot switching back to polite, subservient, or friendly. The conversation "when is avatar showing today" is a good example.

This is the observation we would expect if the waluigis were attractor states. I claim that this explains the asymmetry — if the chatbot responds rudely, then that permanently vanishes the polite luigi simulacrum from the superposition; but if the chatbot responds politely, then that doesn't permanently vanish the rude waluigi simulacrum. Polite people are always polite; rude people are sometimes rude and sometimes polite.

Waluigis after RLHF

RLHF is the method used by OpenAI to coerce GPT-3/3.5/4 into a smart, honest, helpful, harmless assistant. In the RLHF process, the LLM must chat with a human evaluator. The human evaluator then scores the responses of the LLM by the desired properties (smart, honest, helpful, harmless). A "reward predictor" learns to model the scores of the human. Then the LLM is trained with RL to optimise the predictions of the reward predictor.

Eoin Treacy's view

By way of explanation, in the Nintendo world Mario is the main character and Luigi is his brother. Waluigi is Luigi’s alter ego who is intentionally evil.

The discussion of how AI chatbots work and their limitations gives me new found respect for scientific language. The internet is mathematically exact in places but that is buried deep in a morass of misinformation, lies, humour, fantasy, satire and trolling etc. 

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