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Self-Destructing Models: Increasing the Costs of Harmful Dual Uses in Foundation Models
Eric Mitchell · Peter Henderson · Christopher Manning · Dan Jurafsky · Chelsea Finn

A growing ecosystem of large, open-source foundation models has reduced the labeled data and technical expertise necessary to apply machine learning to many new problems. Yet foundation models pose a clear dual-use risk, indiscriminately reducing the costs of building both harmful and benign machine learning systems. To mitigate this risk, we propose the task blocking paradigm, in which foundation models are trained with an additional mechanism to impede adaptation to harmful tasks while retaining good performance on desired tasks. We call the resulting models self-destructing models, inspired by mechanisms that prevent adversaries from using tools for harmful purposes. We present an algorithm for training self-destructing models leveraging techniques from meta-learning and adversarial learning, showing that it can largely prevent a BERT-based model from learning to perform gender identification without harming the model's ability to perform profession classification. We conclude with a discussion of future directions.

Author Information

Eric Mitchell (Stanford)
Peter Henderson (Stanford University)
Christopher Manning (Stanford)
Dan Jurafsky (Stanford University)
Chelsea Finn (Stanford)

Chelsea Finn is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Finn's research interests lie in the capability of robots and other agents to develop broadly intelligent behavior through learning and interaction. To this end, her work has included deep learning algorithms for concurrently learning visual perception and control in robotic manipulation skills, inverse reinforcement methods for learning reward functions underlying behavior, and meta-learning algorithms that can enable fast, few-shot adaptation in both visual perception and deep reinforcement learning. Finn received her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and her PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Her research has been recognized through the ACM doctoral dissertation award, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, the C.V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Research Award, and the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 Award, and her work has been covered by various media outlets, including the New York Times, Wired, and Bloomberg. Throughout her career, she has sought to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities within CS and AI by developing an AI outreach camp at Berkeley for underprivileged high school students, a mentoring program for underrepresented undergraduates across four universities, and leading efforts within the WiML and Berkeley WiCSE communities of women researchers.

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