Retrieve Only When It Needs: Adaptive Retrieval Augmentation for Hallucination Mitigation in Large Language Models


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Hallucinations pose a significant challenge for the practical implementation of large language models (LLMs). The utilization of parametric knowledge in generating factual content is constrained by the limited knowledge of LLMs, potentially resulting in internal hallucinations. While incorporating external information can help fill knowledge gaps, it also introduces the risk of irrelevant information, thereby increasing the likelihood of external hallucinations. A careful and balanced integration of the parametric knowledge within LLMs with external information is crucial to alleviate hallucinations. In this study, we present Rowen, a novel approach that enhances LLMs with a selective retrieval augmentation process tailored to address hallucinated outputs. This process is governed by a multilingual semantic-aware detection module, which evaluates the consistency of the perturbed responses across various languages for the same queries. Upon detecting inconsistencies indicative of hallucinations, Rowen activates the retrieval of external information to rectify the model outputs. Rowen adeptly harmonizes the intrinsic parameters in LLMs with external knowledge sources, effectively mitigating hallucinations by ensuring a balanced integration of internal reasoning and external evidence. Through a comprehensive empirical analysis, we demonstrate that Rowen surpasses the current state-of-the-art in both detecting and mitigating hallucinated content within the outputs of LLMs.
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