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Mass-Producing Failures of Multimodal Systems with Language Models

Shengbang Tong · Erik Jones · Jacob Steinhardt

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1518
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Wed 13 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Deployed multimodal models can fail in ways that evaluators did not anticipate. In order to find these failures before deployment, we introduce MultiMon, a system that automatically identifies systematic failures---generalizable, natural-language descriptions that describe categories of individual failures. To uncover systematic failures, MultiMon scrapes for examples of erroneous agreement: inputs that produce the same output, but should not. It then prompts a language model to identify common categories and describe them in natural language. We use MultiMon to find 14 systematic failures (e.g."ignores quantifiers'') of the CLIP text-encoder, each comprising hundreds of distinct inputs (e.g."a shelf with a few/many books''). Because CLIP is the backbone for most state-of-the-art multimodal models, these inputs produce failures in Midjourney 5.1, DALL-E, VideoFusion, and others. MultiMon can also steer towards failures relevant to specific use cases, such as self-driving cars. We see MultiMon as a step towards evaluation that autonomously explores the long-tail of potential system failures.

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