Prioritizing Safeguarding Over Autonomy: Risks of LLM Agents for Science

Published: 11 Mar 2024, Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024LLMAgents @ ICLR 2024 PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeXCC BY 4.0
Keywords: LLM Agents, scientific discovery
Abstract: Intelligent agents powered by large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated substantial promise in autonomously conducting experiments and facilitating scientific discoveries across various disciplines. While their capabilities are promising, they also introduce novel vulnerabilities that demand careful consideration for safety. However, there exists a notable gap in the literature, as there has been no comprehensive exploration of these vulnerabilities. This position paper fills this gap by conducting a thorough examination of vulnerabilities in LLM-based agents within scientific domains, shedding light on potential risks associated with their misuse and emphasizing the need for safety measures. We begin by providing a comprehensive overview of the potential risks inherent to scientific LLM agents, taking into account user intent, the specific scientific domain, and their potential impact on the external environment. Then, we delve into the origins of these vulnerabilities and provide a scoping review of the limited existing works. Based on our analysis, we propose a triadic framework involving human regulation, agent alignment, and an understanding of environmental feedback (agent regulation) to mitigate these identified risks. Furthermore, we highlight the limitations and challenges associated with safeguarding scientific agents and advocate for the development of improved models, robust benchmarks, and comprehensive regulations to address these issues effectively.
Submission Number: 128