Can LLMs Follow Simple Rules?

As Large Language Models (LLMs) are deployed with increasing real-world responsibilities, it is important to be able to specify and constrain the behavior of these systems in a reliable manner. Model developers may wish to set explicit rules for the model, such as "do not generate abusive content", but these may be circumvented by jailbreaking techniques. Evaluating how well LLMs follow developer-provided rules in the face of adversarial inputs typically requires manual review, which slows down monitoring and methods development. To address this issue, we propose Rule-following Language Evaluation Scenarios (RuLES), a programmatic framework for measuring rule-following ability in LLMs. RuLES consists of 15 simple text scenarios in which the model is instructed to obey a set of rules in natural language while interacting with the human user. Each scenario has a concise evaluation program to determine whether the model has broken any rules in a conversation. Through manual exploration of model behavior in our scenarios, we identify 6 categories of attack strategies and collect two suites of test cases: one consisting of unique conversations from manual testing and one that systematically implements strategies from the 6 categories. Across various popular proprietary and open models such as GPT-4 and Llama 2, we find that all models are susceptible to a wide variety of adversarial hand-crafted user inputs, though GPT-4 is the best-performing model. Additionally, we evaluate open models under gradient-based attacks and find significant vulnerabilities. We propose RuLES as a challenging new setting for research into exploring and defending against both manual and automatic attacks on LLMs.

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