OpenAI’s New Tool Explains Behavior of Language Model At Every Neuron Level

Yana Khare 15 May, 2023 • 3 min read

OpenAI has been working on a groundbreaking tool to interpret an AI model's behavior at every neuron level | Large language models (LLMs) | AI behavior at every neuron level
In recent news, OpenAI has been working on a groundbreaking tool to interpret an AI model’s behavior at every neuron level. Large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT are often called black boxes. Even data scientists have trouble explaining why a model responds in a particular manner, leading to inventing facts out of nowhere.

Learn More: What is ChatGPT? Everything You Need to Know

OpenAI Peels Back the Layers of LLMs

OpenAI is developing a tool that automatically identifies which parts of an LLM are responsible for its behavior. The engineers emphasize that it is still in the early stages, but the open-source code is already available on GitHub. William Saunders, the interpretability team manager at OpenAI, said, “We’re trying to anticipate the problems with an AI system. We want to know that we can trust what the model is doing and the answer it produces.”

Learn More: An Introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs)

Neurons in LLMs

AI behavior at every neuron level | OpenAI | LLM
Like the human brain, LLMs are neurons that observe specific patterns in the text to influence what the overall model says next. OpenAI’s new tool uses this setup to break down models into individual pieces.

How Does the OpenAI Tool Work?

The tool runs text sequences through the evaluated model and waits for instances where a particular neuron activates frequently. Next, it “shows” GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest text-generating AI model, these highly active neurons and has GPT-4 generate an explanation. To determine how accurate the answer is, the tool provides GPT-4 with text sequences and has it predict or simulate how the neuron would behave. It then compares the behavior of the simulated neuron with the actual neuron.

Also Read: GPT4’s Master Plan: Taking Control of a User’s Computer!

Natural Language Explanation for Each Neuron

Using this methodology, the researchers created natural language explanations for all 307,200 neurons in GPT-2. They compiled it in a dataset released alongside the tool code. Jeff Wu, who leads the scalable alignment team at OpenAI, said, “We’re using GPT-4 as part of the process to produce explanations of what a neuron is looking for and then score how well those explanations match the reality of what it’s doing.”

Long Way to Go


Even though tools like this could potentially enhance an LLM’s performance by cutting down on bias or toxicity, the researchers acknowledge that it has a long way to go before it can be genuinely helpful. Wu explained that the tool uses GPT-4 is merely incidental and shows GPT -4’s weaknesses in this area. He also said the agency wasn’t created with commercial applications in mind and could theoretically be adapted to use LLMs besides GPT-4.

Our Say

Thus, OpenAI’s latest tool, which can interpret an AI model’s behavior at every neuron level, is a significant stride toward transparency in AI. It could help data scientists and developers better understand how these models work and help address issues such as potential bias or toxicity. While it is still in its early stages, it holds promising potential for the future of AI development.

Also Read: AI and Beyond: Exploring the Future of Generative AI

Yana Khare 15 May 2023

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