Beyond BERT: A Closer Look at the Latest Advancements in Large Language Models The current status of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Large Language Models (LLMs) in mid-2023, 5 years after the first release of BERT

Use These AI Image Generators to Create Eye-Catching Artwork

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field that combines computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics to facilitate natural language interactions between humans and machines. This fast-evolving discipline has been the driving force behind several novel applications, ranging from virtual personal assistants and chatbots to content-generating systems and beyond.

Large language models (LLMs) are significant contributors to the progress of NLP. These computational models are intended to analyze, interpret, produce, and translate human language. LLMs are trained on massive volumes of text data, allowing them to create highly contextualized representations of language that are extremely adept at comprehending and producing human-like answers.

The advent of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was a watershed milestone in the evolution of LLMs. This model was an important achievement in the field of NLP, establishing a new standard for machine comprehension of human language. BERT's unique ability to contextually evaluate text (looking at the words that come before and after a term) has considerably enhanced the precision of search results, ushering in a new era of information retrieval.

However, the AI research community did not rest on its laurels with the introduction of BERT. Instead, it has forged ahead, aiming to overcome the constraints of existing models and make significant advances in improving human-machine interaction. This unwavering drive for innovation has resulted in substantial breakthroughs and the introduction of novel models, all of which strive to improve the efficiency, context awareness, and overall performance of NLMs. Let's go further into these developments and see how they're shaping the future of NLP and AI in general.

New Advancements in LLMs

In today's world, massive language models like BERT, which have over 1 trillion parameters, run our search engines. These models are trained on massive amounts of unstructured data, and one of the key aspects contributing to their success is their capacity to develop good contextual representations.

However, the question of how we can ensure the accuracy of the results arises. With its ranking algorithms, the internet has undeniably simplified information retrieval. However, the absence of knowledge about the origin or source of this information fosters the growth of disinformation.

A group of Stanford University academics has proposed frameworks for AI to better understand and respond. They discovered that in order to obtain reliable information, users frequently ask follow-up inquiries after their first inquiry. For example, one could look up the year Stanford was founded and then inquire, "What is the source of this information?" The response could include a reference to "The Stanford University About Page." But what if the model got its knowledge from "Wikipedia"?

Even if these huge language models achieve the ideal combination of retrieval and contextualization, information removal remains a difficult issue. There are numerous instances where state regulatory authorities or individuals have requested that sensitive data be removed from internet corporations.

This is where Neural Information Retrieval (NIR) models, such as ColBERT, might help. These models not only make the Q&A process more accessible, but they also retain their usefulness in the event of data destruction. Since 2019, IT titans such as Google and Microsoft have used the neural IR paradigm for their search engines, making it a thriving study topic.

While BERT has significantly improved search precision, it has also raised computing requirements and delays. To combat this, researchers began incorporating classic retrieval methods into language models, although precision proved difficult. As a result, methods such as ColBERT were developed to find a balance between efficiency and contextualization.

ColBERT, a ranking model based on late interaction over BERT, presents a new late interaction paradigm for determining relevance between a query "q" and a document "d." In this paradigm, "q" and "d" are encoded separately into two sets of contextual embeddings, and relevance is evaluated between both sets utilizing cost-effective and pruning-friendly calculations.

Latest Launches

Large Language Models (LLMs)

LLMs are AI models with an extensive number of parameters, enabling them to perform complex tasks like generating text and even programming code. Examples include OpenAI's GPT-3 with 175 billion parameters and EleutherAI's GPT-J with 6 billion parameters. Microsoft and Nvidia's Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation (MT-NLG) is another notable LLM with 530 billion parameters. While powerful, these models come with high development and operational costs.

Fine-tuned Models

Fine-tuned models are essentially scaled-down versions of larger models, customized for specific tasks. For instance, OpenAI's Codex, a derivative of GPT-3, is tailored for programming tasks. These models are both smaller and more specialized than their parent models, making them more efficient in terms of training time, computational resources, and data requirements. OpenAI's InstructGPT is a fine-tuned model that effectively aligns with user intent and minimizes the generation of problematic text.

Edge Models

Edge models are compact, efficient AI models that are intended to run on local devices such as smartphones or local web servers. These methods provide considerable cost and privacy benefits because they operate offline, avoiding cloud usage costs and data transmission to the cloud. They are also speedier, which makes them suitable for real-time applications such as translation. Google Translate is one example of an app that uses edge models for offline translations.

Next generation of LLMs

Future large language models (LLMs) are projected to have three distinct characteristics:

  1. Self-Improvement. LLMs will grow to produce their own training data, much like humans do through internal reflection. Google's "Large Language Models Can Self-Improve" project is one example, in which the model develops and fine-tunes its replies, resulting in improved efficiency. Another method involves the model developing its own natural language instructions for fine-tuning, which improves GPT-3's performance by 33%.
  2. Self-Checking. While LLMs such as ChatGPT are powerful, they can provide erroneous results. Future models will address this issue by acquiring and citing data from outside sources, increasing openness and trustworthiness. Early models like Google's REALM and Facebook's RAG are leading this trend. DeepMind's Sparrow, which, like ChatGPT, talks, obtains, and references internet information, is one promising model.
  3. Sparse Expert Models.  Future LLMs will most likely have a sparse expert model architecture. Sparse models, as opposed to current dense models (e.g., GPT-3, PaLM, and LaMDA), activate only the most important subset of parameters for input, making them larger but less computationally expensive. These models are thought of as "experts" in specific topics that are triggered based on the input.

This strategy has been used by large LLMs such as Google's Switch Transformer and Meta's Mixture of Experts model, which provide equivalent performance to dense models at a lower computational cost. Sparse models are also easier to interpret, which could be a substantial advantage in real-world applications.

Beyond ChatGPT

ChatGPT, a dialogue-driven artificial intelligence system based on the GPT-3 model, is regarded as a cutting-edge example of today's large language models (LLMs). Despite its amazing capabilities, it is important to recognize that there is a vast field for additional improvement and evolution.

We may see models in the future that display a deep awareness of context. This would entail being able to smoothly absorb larger context or conversational information to provide more relevant and insightful responses, thereby improving overall interaction quality.

Another significant advantage could be the ability of these models to recall and refer to previous interactions. This proposes the creation of an AI "memory" of sorts, which could allow for more engaging and meaningful discussion over longer periods of time by maintaining continuity and relevance to previous exchanges.

Furthermore, subsequent iterations may demonstrate a consistent persona across longer interactions. This entails the AI keeping a specific personality or demeanor, which adds dimension to the engagement and makes the dialogue feel more authentic and human-like.

Moreover, models that can learn from their own interactions are an exciting option. This would imply that AI systems will dynamically update their knowledge base, not just based on pre-existing training data but also by incorporating insights gained from current encounters or occurrences. This could result in a more adaptive and current AI that can keep up with changing situations and trends.

In essence, while ChatGPT marks a substantial advancement in the field of LLMs, the track of AI progress points to far more sophisticated and nuanced systems that could transform our interactions with AI.


About Alice

Layout designer, SEO & marketing analyst. Since 2010 is also a junior developer, working on the web site back-end infrastructure of some italian press companies. She also actively manages a number of social pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) for some IT companies and press agencies.

View all posts by Alice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.