Contrastive Novelty Learning: Anticipating Outliers with Large Language Models

ICLR 2023(2023)

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In many task settings, text classification models are likely to encounter examples from novel classes on which they cannot predict correctly. Selective prediction, in which models abstain on low-confidence examples, provides a possible solution, but existing models are often overly confident on OOD examples. To remedy this overconfidence, we introduce Contrastive Novelty Learning (CNL), a two-step method that generates OOD examples representative of novel classes, then trains to decrease confidence on them. First, we generate OOD examples by prompting a large language model twice: we prompt it to enumerate novel classes relevant to the label set, then generate examples from each novel class matching the task format. Second, we train our classifier with a novel contrastive objective that encourages lower confidence on generated OOD examples than training examples. When trained with CNL, classifiers improve in their ability to detect and abstain on OOD examples over prior methods by an average of 2.3% AUAC and 5.5% AUROC across 4 NLP datasets, with no cost to in-distribution accuracy.
selective prediction,open-set classification,large language models,NLP
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