Measuring Progress on Scalable Oversight for Large Language Models

Samuel R. Bowman, Jeeyoon Hyun, Ethan Perez, Edwin Chen, Craig Pettit, Scott Heiner, Kamilė Lukošiūtė, Amanda Askell, Andy Jones, Anna Chen, Anna Goldie, Azalia Mirhoseini, Cameron McKinnon, Christopher Olah, Daniela Amodei, Dario Amodei, Dawn Drain, Dustin Li, Eli Tran-Johnson, Jackson Kernion, Jamie Kerr, Jared Mueller, Jeffrey Ladish, Joshua Landau, Kamal Ndousse, Liane Lovitt, Nelson Elhage, Nicholas Schiefer, Nicholas Joseph, Noemí Mercado, Nova DasSarma, Robin Larson, Sam McCandlish, Sandipan Kundu, Scott Johnston, Shauna Kravec, Sheer El Showk, Stanislav Fort, Timothy Telleen-Lawton, Tom Brown, Tom Henighan, Tristan Hume, Yuntao Bai, Zac Hatfield-Dodds, Ben Mann, Jared Kaplan

Submitted on 4 November 2022, last revised on 11 November 2022


Developing safe and useful general-purpose AI systems will require us to make progress on scalable oversight: the problem of supervising systems that potentially outperform us on most skills relevant to the task at hand. Empirical work on this problem is not straightforward, since we do not yet have systems that broadly exceed our abilities. This paper discusses one of the major ways we think about this problem, with a focus on ways it can be studied empirically. We first present an experimental design centered on tasks for which human specialists succeed but unaided humans and current general AI systems fail. We then present a proof-of-concept experiment meant to demonstrate a key feature of this experimental design and show its viability with two question-answering tasks: MMLU and time-limited QuALITY. On these tasks, we find that human participants who interact with an unreliable large-language-model dialog assistant through chat -- a trivial baseline strategy for scalable oversight -- substantially outperform both the model alone and their own unaided performance. These results are an encouraging sign that scalable oversight will be tractable to study with present models and bolster recent findings that large language models can productively assist humans with difficult tasks.


Comment: v2 fixes a few typos from v1

Subjects: Computer Science - Human-Computer Interaction; Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence; Computer Science - Computation and Language