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reinforcement learning from human feedback, rlhf

A Roadmap to Build Responsible AI with RLHF

Welcome to Data Science Dojo’s weekly AI newsletter, “The Data-Driven Dispatch“. In this week’s dispatch, we’ll dive deep into reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF).

Language models like ChatGPT and Gemini are transforming our daily interactions with AI.

However, despite the utility of these applications, various challenges plague the users because of several reasons, such as:

  • Biased Outputs: Since language models are trained on vast datasets that may contain biased information, they can inadvertently reproduce and amplify these biases.

  • Relevance is Subjective: Relevance is inherently subjective. What one person finds useful or appealing might be irrelevant or even offensive to another. This subjectivity poses a challenge for language models, which strive to provide universally relevant responses.

Subjectivity of Relevance

  • Hallucinations: Language models can also produce “hallucinations,” where the generated content is inaccurate or entirely fictitious. This issue arises when the model generates plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical information. Read more about the risks of language models

Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback is an industry-standard solution that caters to all these issues and more.

In this week’s dispatch, we will be diving deeper into what RLHF is, how it works, and how can it help make generative AI applications not only more socially responsible but possess higher utility as well.


What is Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback?

Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback leverages direct feedback from humans to ensure that the AI output aligns with human values. This technique employs human evaluators to guide AI behavior, helping to filter out biases and harmful content.

By integrating human judgments into the training process, RLHF fine-tunes models to produce content that is socially responsible and better aligned with user expectations and needs.

How Does RLHF Work?

The process works in 3 stages typically.

The process of RLHF - reinforcement learning from human feedback

Read more: The Process of Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback

Step 1: Creating a Preference Dataset

The RLHF process begins with the creation of a Preference Dataset (PD), which captures human preferences for various outputs generated by a model.

To create the PD, human evaluators provide feedback on AI-generated outputs by ranking or selecting the preferred options. This feedback forms a dataset that encapsulates human judgments on what constitutes high-quality, relevant, and ethical content.

Step 2: Training a Reward Model

Using the preference dataset, a reward model is trained to predict human preferences. This model quantifies the desirability of different outputs, guiding the AI in generating content that aligns with these preferences.

The reward model in the RLHF process
Source: HuggingFace

Step 3: Fine-Tuning with Reinforcement Learning

With the reward model in place, the AI model undergoes fine-tuning using reinforcement learning, specifically employing Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO); A popular RL algorithm known for its stability and efficiency in training large models.

The reward model provides feedback, and the AI adjusts its outputs to maximize the predicted rewards.

PPO helps maintain a balance between exploration (trying new responses) and exploitation (refining known good responses), ensuring that the AI model continuously improves while avoiding drastic changes that could reduce performance.

This results in content that is more aligned with human values and expectations.

How Can RLHF Help?

Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback is pivotal for aligning AI systems with human values and boosting their performance across various domains.

Improving Chatbot Interactions: RLHF enhances chatbots’ abilities in tasks like summarization and question-answering by integrating human feedback. This leads to more accurate, coherent, and satisfactory interactions, thereby building user trust.

AI Image Generation: In AI image generation, RLHF leverages human feedback to train a reward model that guides AI in creating visually appealing and contextually relevant images. This benefits digital art, marketing, and design.

Music Generation: RLHF enhances the creativity and appeal of AI-generated music. By training on human feedback regarding harmony and melody, AI can produce music that resonates more closely with human tastes, improving applications in entertainment and therapy.

RLHF Vs. Direct Preference Optimization

Direct Preference Optimization is a simpler technique developed by researchers at Stanford.

Instead of training a reward model based on human preferences and then fine-tuning their language model using the reward model’s output, the DPO method proposes to directly fine-tune a copy of the language model using human preferences.

This fine-tuning process makes the copy

  • More likely to generate outputs preferred by humans

  • less likely to produce outputs that are not preferred compared to the original model.

Here’s a comparison between RLHF and Direct Preference Optimization:

Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback Vs. Direct Preference Optimization

Read more: A Comparative Analysis of RLHF and DPO for Finetuning LLMs


RLHF for Training Language Models

Dive deeper into Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback with expert insights from Luis Serrano. This curated playlist offers an in-depth exploration of RLHF, including comprehensive dives into Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), Direct Policy Optimization (DPO), and their roles in enhancing AI systems.


Here’s an example of how a language model can be manipulated to break its rules with prompts.

AI Jailbreak

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Top 10 Trending AI Podcasts

Looking for an engaging way to stay updated on the latest in AI and machine learning?

Check out our curated list of the 10 best AI and ML podcasts, perfect for keeping you informed and entertained with the most trending topics in the field.

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Finally, let’s end this week with some interesting advancements that happened in the AI sphere this week.

  1. Perplexity’s ‘Pro Search’ AI upgrade makes it better at math and research. Read more

  2. ChatGPT just (accidentally) shared all of its secret rules. Read more

  3. GPT-5 will be a ‘significant leap forward’ says Sam Altman. Read more

  4. Google’s environmental report pointedly avoids AI’s actual energy cost. Read more

  5. Intel is infusing AI into the Paris Olympic games, and it might change how you and the athletes experience them. Read more

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