TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2024] Sanmi Koyejo presents talk titled Are Emergent Abilities of Large Language Models a Mirage?

Date released: March 20, 2024

  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2024] Sanmi Koyejo presents talk titled Are Emergent Abilities of Large Language Models a Mirage?
    (Learn more about the MERL Seminar Series.)
  • Date & Time:

    Wednesday, March 20, 2024; 1:00 PM

  • Abstract:

    Recent work claims that large language models display emergent abilities, abilities not present in smaller-scale models that are present in larger-scale models. What makes emergent abilities intriguing is two-fold: their sharpness, transitioning seemingly instantaneously from not present to present, and their unpredictability, appearing at seemingly unforeseeable model scales. Here, we present an alternative explanation for emergent abilities: that for a particular task and model family, when analyzing fixed model outputs, emergent abilities appear due to the researcher's choice of metric rather than due to fundamental changes in model behavior with scale. Specifically, nonlinear or discontinuous metrics produce apparent emergent abilities, whereas linear or continuous metrics produce smooth, continuous predictable changes in model performance. We present our alternative explanation in a simple mathematical model. Via the presented analyses, we provide evidence that alleged emergent abilities evaporate with different metrics or with better statistics, and may not be a fundamental property of scaling AI models.

  • Speaker:

    Sanmi Koyejo
    Stanford University

    Sanmi Koyejo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. Koyejo leads the Stanford Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (STAIR) lab, which works to develop the principles and practice of trustworthy machine learning, focusing on applications to neuroscience and healthcare. Koyejo has been the recipient of several awards, including outstanding paper awards, a Skip Ellis Early Career Award, a Sloan Fellowship, a Terman faculty fellowship, an NSF CAREER award, a Kavli Fellowship, an IJCAI early career spotlight, and a trainee award from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. Koyejo serves on the Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation Board, the Association for Health Learning and Inference Board, and as president of the Black in AI organization.

  • MERL Host:

    Jing Liu

  • Research Areas:

    Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning