Recitation-Augmented Language Models

Recitation-Augmented Language Models
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Original Paper
We propose a new paradigm to help Large Language Models (LLMs) generate more accurate factual knowledge without retrieving from an external corpus, called RECITation-augmented gEneration (RECITE). Different from retrieval-augmented language models that retrieve relevant documents before generating the outputs, given an input, RECITE first recites one or several relevant passages from LLMs' own memory via sampling, and then produces the final answers. We show that RECITE is a powerful paradigm for knowledge-intensive NLP tasks. Specifically, we show that by utilizing recitation as the intermediate step, a recite-and-answer scheme can achieve new state-of-the-art performance in various closed-book question answering (CBQA) tasks. In experiments, we verify the effectiveness of \method~on four pre-trained models (PaLM, UL2, OPT, and Codex) and three CBQA tasks (Natural Questions, TriviaQA, and HotpotQA). Our code is available at "

Summary Notes

Boosting AI's Fact-Checking Abilities with RECITE

The world of artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly evolving, with engineers and researchers looking for ways to improve the accuracy and reliability of Large Language Models (LLMs).
Despite their advanced capabilities in mimicking human-like text, LLMs often fall short in providing accurate facts, which is particularly challenging for tasks that require precise knowledge.
This is where RECITE (RECITation-augmented gEneration) comes into play, offering a revolutionary method to enhance LLMs' ability to accurately recall and utilize their stored knowledge for tasks demanding factual accuracy.

The Challenge with LLMs

LLMs have significantly advanced natural language processing, achieving remarkable capabilities in generating text that resembles human writing.
Yet, their performance in accurately conveying factual information is lacking, especially in closed-book question answering (CBQA) scenarios where they can't access external databases.
Previous methods tried to fix this by incorporating external databases, but these solutions often added complexity and depended heavily on the quality of those external sources. This limitation underscores the need for innovative approaches like RECITE, which improve factual accuracy by harnessing the LLMs' own knowledge.

How RECITE Works

RECITE introduces a unique method that boosts the factual accuracy of LLMs by enabling them to "recite" crucial information from their training data before answering a question. This process involves:
  • Evidence-Recitation Module: This component sifts through the LLM's extensive training data to find and recall relevant information.
  • Question-Answering Module: Based on the recited information, this module formulates an accurate response.
  • Self-Consistency Ensemble: This strategy uses multiple recitations to verify the consistency and accuracy of the answer provided.
  • Multiple-Recite-and-Answer: This technique improves the model's competency in answering complex, multi-layered questions by generating several relevant recitations in sequence.

RECITE's Proven Impact

RECITE's effectiveness has been validated across various models and datasets, such as PaLM, UL2, OPT, and Codex, and in tasks including Natural Questions, TriviaQA, and HotpotQA. The findings from comprehensive tests show:
  • Notable improvements in accuracy and robustness in CBQA tasks across different models.
  • Better performance with self-consistency paths, leading to significant factual accuracy enhancements.
  • Consistent and reliable model responses, even with changes in the few-shot setup.

The Future Path

RECITE signifies a major leap toward achieving more reliable and factually accurate AI systems. By tapping into LLMs' internal knowledge, RECITE not only tackles the immediate issue of factual accuracy but also paves the way for research and development in other knowledge-heavy areas, like fact-checking and information verification.

Exploring New Avenues

The success of RECITE in CBQA tasks opens up possibilities for its application in other domains that require not only factual accuracy but also a deep, nuanced understanding and interpretation of information.
This could significantly extend LLMs' impact across various fields.

Ethical Concerns and Bias

Despite its advancements, RECITE brings forth ethical considerations, particularly around bias amplification. Since RECITE depends on the LLM's internal knowledge, which in turn is influenced by its training data, there's a risk of reinforcing existing biases.
Continuous efforts are necessary to use RECITE and similar technologies responsibly, ensuring they don't perpetuate biases.

Open Research and Collaboration

The RECITE team has shared their code, models, datasets, and experiment details publicly to support open research.
This move towards transparency and reproducibility encourages further exploration, validation, and innovation within the AI community.


RECITE marks a significant step forward in improving the factual accuracy of LLMs. By enabling these models to efficiently utilize their internal knowledge, RECITE offers a robust solution to a key challenge in AI and opens up new opportunities for research and application in areas requiring precise knowledge.
As AI researchers continue to refine these methods, the goal of creating more reliable, accurate, and ethically sound AI systems becomes increasingly achievable.

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