How Language Model Hallucinations Can Snowball

Published: 02 May 2024, Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024ICML 2024 PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeXCC BY 4.0
Abstract: A major risk of using language models in practical applications is their tendency to hallucinate incorrect statements. Hallucinations are often attributed to knowledge gaps in LMs, but we show that LMs sometimes produce hallucinations that they can separately recognize as incorrect. To do this, we construct three question-answering datasets where LMs often state an incorrect answer which is followed by an explanation with at least one incorrect claim. Crucially, we find that GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and LLaMA2-70B-chat can identify 67\%, 87\%, and 94\% of these incorrect claims, respectively. We show that this phenomenon doesn't disappear under higher temperatures sampling, beam search, and zero-shot chain-of-thought prompting. These findings reveal that LM hallucinations can snowball: early mistakes by an LM can lead to more mistakes that otherwise would not be made.
Submission Number: 6912
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