Measuring Forgetting of Memorized Training ExamplesDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 02 Mar 2023ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: forgetting, memorization, membership inference, canary extraction, nondeterminism, convexity
TL;DR: When models are trained on large datasets, we show that privacy attacks become less effective on examples seen early in training, and investigate why.
Abstract: Machine learning models exhibit two seemingly contradictory phenomena: training data memorization and various forms of forgetting. In memorization, models overfit specific training examples and become susceptible to privacy attacks. In forgetting, examples which appeared early in training are forgotten by the end. In this work, we connect these phenomena. We propose a technique to measure to what extent models ``forget'' the specifics of training examples, becoming less susceptible to privacy attacks on examples they have not seen recently. We show that, while non-convexity can prevent forgetting from happening in the worst-case, standard image,speech, and language models empirically do forget examples over time. We identify nondeterminism as a potential explanation, showing that deterministically trained models do not forget. Our results suggest that examples seen early when training with extremely large datasets---for instance those examples used to pre-train a model---may observe privacy benefits at the expense of examples seen later.
Anonymous Url: I certify that there is no URL (e.g., github page) that could be used to find authors’ identity.
No Acknowledgement Section: I certify that there is no acknowledgement section in this submission for double blind review.
Code Of Ethics: I acknowledge that I and all co-authors of this work have read and commit to adhering to the ICLR Code of Ethics
Submission Guidelines: Yes
Please Choose The Closest Area That Your Submission Falls Into: Social Aspects of Machine Learning (eg, AI safety, fairness, privacy, interpretability, human-AI interaction, ethics)
11 Replies