Can discrete information extraction prompts generalize across language models?Download PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: prompting, prompt analysis, language model interfaces, prompt generalizations
TL;DR: We show that automatically generated prompts can be learned on a language model and used to retrieve information from another. We further provide some preliminary insights on the nature of these "universal prompts".
Abstract: We study whether automatically-induced prompts that effectively extract information from a language model can also be used, out-of-the-box, to probe other language models for the same information. After confirming that discrete prompts induced with the AutoPrompt algorithm outperform manual and semi-manual prompts on the slot-filling task, we demonstrate a drop in performance for AutoPrompt prompts learned on a model and tested on another. We introduce a way to induce prompts by mixing language models at training time that results in prompts that generalize well across models. We conduct an extensive analysis of the induced prompts, finding that the more general prompts include a larger proportion of existing English words and have a less order-dependent and more uniform distribution of information across their component tokens. Our work provides preliminary evidence that it's possible to generate discrete prompts that can be induced once and used with a number of different models, and gives insights on the properties characterizing such prompts.
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