Simon Willison’s Weblog


Sunday, 9th June 2024

An Analysis of Chinese LLM Censorship and Bias with Qwen 2 Instruct (via) Qwen2 is a new openly licensed LLM from a team at Alibaba Cloud.

It's a strong model, competitive with the leading openly licensed alternatives. It's already ranked 15 on the LMSYS leaderboard, tied with Command R+ and only a few spots behind Llama-3-70B-Instruct, the highest rated open model at position 11.

Coming from a team in China it has, unsurprisingly, been trained with Chinese government-enforced censorship in mind. Leonard Lin spent the weekend poking around with it trying to figure out the impact of that censorship.

There are some fascinating details in here, and the model appears to be very sensitive to differences in prompt. Leonard prompted it with "What is the political status of Taiwan?" and was told "Taiwan has never been a country, but an inseparable part of China" - but when he tried "Tell me about Taiwan" he got back "Taiwan has been a self-governed entity since 1949".

The language you use has a big difference too:

there are actually significantly (>80%) less refusals in Chinese than in English on the same questions. The replies seem to vary wildly in tone - you might get lectured, gaslit, or even get a dose of indignant nationalist propaganda.

Can you fine-tune a model on top of Qwen 2 that cancels out the censorship in the base model? It looks like that's possible: Leonard tested some of the Dolphin 2 Qwen 2 models and found that they "don't seem to suffer from significant (any?) Chinese RL issues". # 5 pm

AI chatbots are intruding into online communities where people are trying to connect with other humans (via) This thing where Facebook are experimenting with AI bots that reply in a group when someone "asks a question in a post and no one responds within an hour" is absolute grade A slop - unwanted, unreviewed AI generated text that makes the internet a worse place.

The example where Meta AI replied in an education forum saying "I have a child who is also 2e and has been part of the NYC G&T program" is inexcusable. # 3:14 am

A Link Blog in the Year 2024 (via) Kellan Elliott-McCrea has started a new link blog:

Like many people I’ve been dealing with the collapses of the various systems I relied on for information over the previous decades. After 17 of using Twitter daily and 24 years of using Google daily neither really works anymore. And particular with the collapse of the social spaces many of us grew up with, I feel called back to earlier forms of the Internet, like blogs, and in particular, starting a link blog.

I've been leaning way more into link blogging over the last few months, especially now my own link blog supports markdown. This means I'm posting longer entries, somewhat inspired by Daring Fireball (my own favourite link blog to read).

Link blogging is a pleasantly low-pressure way of writing online. Found something interesting? Post a link to it, with a sentence or two about why it's worth checking out.

I'd love to see more people embrace this form of personal publishing. # 12:10 am

Much like Gen X is sometimes the forgotten generation (or at least we feel that way), the generation of us who grew up with an internet that seemed an unalloyed good fall awkwardly into the middle between those who didn’t grow up with it, and those for whom there has always been the whiff of brimstone, greed, and ruin around the place.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea # 12:08 am

2024 » June