LLM Hallucinations Vs. LLM Confabulations

Have you ever had a conversation with a LLM and thought, "Wow, that took a weird turn?”

We’re talking about when LLM pulls facts from a parallel universe or invents stories better suited to a fantasy novel. It’s like figuring out if your LLM is daydreaming or just trying too hard to sound smart. Distinguishing between LLM hallucinations and LLM confabulations can be challenging because both involve incorrect or misleading responses. However, Inaccuracies differ depending on context and nature.

Here’s how to differentiate between the two:

LLM Hallucinations

LLM hallucinations refer to the generation of information entirely unrelated or only loosely related to the input prompt. It’s because the model didn’t apply its knowledge correctly to the specific situation. Hallucinations include scenarios, facts, or responses that have no basis in reality or the given context. It’s like the model imagines content without knowing what the prompt is about. It usually happens when the model overgeneralizes, misunderstands the prompt, or errors in its learned associations.

LLM Confabulations

Confabulation happens when LLM generates fake content that looks legit. It generally occurs when the model deals with uncertainty, lack of information, or ambiguous questions. Usually, the response is related to the prompt, but it doesn't provide details, connections, or conclusions backed by real data. It's like filling in gaps with fabricated details but still looks real. 

How to tell the difference

  • Hallucinations often stray into irrelevance or nonsensical outputs, but confabulations maintain relevance but introduce unfounded details.
  • Confabulations are more plausible and logical, aiming to fill knowledge gaps. In contrast, hallucinations might lack plausibility and coherence, reflecting a deeper misunderstanding.
  • Although the model doesn’t produce hallucinations or confabulations on purpose, confabulations are an attempt to “guess” intelligently or fill in the blanks. Hallucinations happen when the model doesn’t process the prompt correctly.

So there you have it - a breakdown of the subtleties between LLM hallucinations and confabulations for your AI understanding.  Understanding these nuances is important when evaluating model outputs, especially in applications that require accuracy and reliability. By finding out whether an error is a hallucination or a confabulation, you can mitigate it. This can be accomplished by adjusting training data, fine-tuning the model, or implementing additional checks.



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