Evaluating the Factual Consistency of Large Language Models Through News Summarization

Derek Tam, Anisha Mascarenhas,Shiyue Zhang, Sarah Kwan,Mohit Bansal, Colin Raffel


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While large language models (LLMs) have proven to be effective on a large variety of tasks, they are also known to hallucinate information. To measure whether an LLM prefers factually consistent continuations of its input, we propose a new benchmark called FIB (Factual Inconsistency Benchmark) that focuses on the task of summarization. Specifically, our benchmark involves comparing the scores an LLM assigns to a factually consistent versus a factually inconsistent summary for an input news article. For factually consistent summaries, we use human-written reference summaries that we manually verify as factually consistent. To generate summaries that are factually inconsistent, we generate summaries from a suite of summarization models that we have manually annotated as factually inconsistent. A model’s factual consistency is then measured according to its accuracy, i.e. the proportion of documents where it assigns a higher score to the factually consistent summary. To validate the usefulness of {pasted macro ‘BENCHMARK’}, we evaluate 23 large language models ranging from 1B to 176B parameters from six different model families including BLOOM and OPT. We find that existing LLMs generally assign a higher score to factually consistent summaries than to factually inconsistent summaries. However, if the factually inconsistent summaries occur verbatim in the document, then LLMs assign a higher score to these factually inconsistent summaries than factually consistent summaries. We validate design choices in our benchmark including the scoring method and source of distractor summaries.
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