What are Large Language Models (LLMs) and Why Audit Them?

Large Language Models, or LLMs, are computer programs trained on a lot of text to understand and generate responses. These LLMs learn by seeing tons of examples and then predicting what comes next in a sentence. After this training, they can write text, answer questions, and even translate languages by recalling patterns they’ve seen before.

What are Large Language Models? – Everything you need to know

What are Large Language Models?

Large language models are a class of deep learning model that is trained on massive text datasets, often billions of words. This allows LLMs to learn the patterns and relationships between words and concepts expressed in human languages.

LLMs use a neural network architecture called transformers. Transformers have attention mechanisms that identify the context and meaning of words in relation to one another across large bodies of text. The result is that LLMs gain a broad understanding of language and writing.

During training, LLMs are shown many text examples but not given explicit instructions. This natural language processing approach is called self-supervised learning. The models learn by predicting masked words and sentences during pretraining.

After this pretraining process, LLMs can generate new text, summarize content, answer questions, translate languages, and more. Their capabilities come from recognizing patterns in their extensive training data.

Some key capabilities of large language models include:

  • Natural language generation – Producing human-like text
  • Information retrieval – Drawing on knowledge gleaned from training data to answer questions or summarize content.
  • Few-shot learning – Quickly learning from small data sets.
History of Large Language Models

Image Source – https://www.scribbledata.io/large-language-models-history-evolutions-and-future/

Why Audit Large Language Models?

Auditing LLMs involves thoroughly evaluating a system to ensure it performs as intended and identifying any limitations or risks. There are several important reasons why LLMs should be audited:

  • Assess capabilities – Audits reveal the strengths and weaknesses of LLMs in areas like accuracy, logical reasoning, and safety.
  • Evaluate risks – Potential harms from issues like bias, toxicity, and disinformation can be probed through auditing.
  • Ensure responsible development – LLM Audits provide oversight so LLMs align with ethical principles during design.
  • Build public trust – Demonstrating LLMs’ work as intended through audits fosters public acceptance.
  • Guide governance – Audits inform governance frameworks and best practices around using LLMs responsibly.

Thoughtful auditing provides transparency into how well LLMs perform. This accountability is important given their rapidly expanding use in society.

Types of Large Language Models

Many different types of LLMs are being developed. They have different capabilities and limitations depending on their architecture and training provided:

  • Autoregressive – Generate text one token at a time based on previous tokens like GPT models.
  • Encoder-decoder – Two network components, one encoding context, the other decoding text like BART.
  • Unified – Using one model for both context and text generation like T5.
  • Retrieval-augmented – Pull and incorporate information from external sources.
  • Multimodal – Handle both text and images, like DALL-E 2.
  • Lightweight – Using less computational resources by simplifying model architecture.

Transformers, explained: Understand the model behind GPT, BERT, and T5

The Role of Auditing LLMs

Auditing is like doing a health check for LLMs. Evaluating these AI systems across metrics like accuracy, safety, fairness, and accountability provides insights into appropriate usage.

Audits also inform the governance processes and policies needed around LLMs. Audits that involve testing models on problematic data reveal weaknesses to address through governance. Responsible innovation of emerging technologies requires meaningful oversight.

LLMs present new challenges because of their rapidly evolving capabilities, opacity, and potential risks when deployed at scale. Auditing provides a framework for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of LLMs in depth. It enables the development of LLMs that are not just powerful but aligned with human values.

In short, LLMs have great potential to help us in many ways. But, like with any powerful tool, we need to use them wisely and keep an eye on them. Checking them through audits is how we do that.


How do you audit a large language model?

You can audit a large language model by checking for bias, accuracy, and safety. This can be done by testing the model on a variety of tasks, such as generating text, translating languages, and answering questions. You can also look for patterns in the model’s output that suggest bias or inaccuracy.

Why are large language models called large?

Large language models are called large because they are trained on billions of words. This allows them to learn the statistical relationships between words and phrases, which gives them the ability to generate text, translate languages, and answer questions in a human-like way.

What is a large language model in layman’s terms?

A large language model is a computer program that can generate text, translate languages, and answer questions in a human-like way.

Why do we need large language models?

We need large language models because they can be used for a variety of tasks that would be difficult or impossible for humans to do.

What are some of the benefits of using large language models (LLMs)?

LLMs can be used for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Generating text: LLMs can be used to generate realistic and creative text, such as code, scripts, musical pieces, emails, letters, etc.
  • Translating languages: LLMs can be used to translate languages accurately and fluently.
  • Answering questions: LLMs can be used to answer questions in a comprehensive and informative way.
  • Summarizing text: LLMs can be used to summarize text concisely and accurately.
  • Writing different kinds of creative content: LLMs can be used to write different kinds of content, such as scripts, musical pieces, email, letters, etc.

Leave a Comment