Jump to Content
Mark Díaz

Mark Díaz

Mark Díaz is a Research Scientist with the Technology, AI, Society, and Culture (TASC) team in Responsible AI. His primary research investigates sociotechnical AI evaluation and documentation, including understanding data annotation and subjective disagreements related to differences in social context and experience. He has most recently begun work on the impacts of anthropomorphic generative AI on user perceptions and what those impacts mean for responsible AI practice. Mark completed his Ph.D. in Technology & Social Behavior, a joint program in Computer Science and Communication at Northwestern University where he was advised by Darren Gergle. Before completing his doctoral work on age-related biases in sentiment analysis, he worked as a graduate fellow at SMART Chicago, a nonprofit focused on technology access and equity in Chicago. As a graduate fellow he researched perceptions among Black and low-income Chicago residents of city technology policy.
Authored Publications
Google Publications
Other Publications
Sort By
  • Title
  • Title, desc
  • Year
  • Year, desc
    Preview abstract Dialogue safety as a task is complex, in part because ‘safety’ entails a broad range of topics and concerns, such as toxicity, harm, legal concerns, health advice, etc. Who we ask to judge safety and who we ask to define safety may lead to differing conclusions. This is because definitions and understandings of safety can vary according to one’s identity, public opinion, and the interpretation of existing laws and regulations. In this study, we compare annotations from a diverse set of over 100 crowd raters to gold labels derived from trust and safety (T&S) experts in a dialogue safety task consisting of 350 human-chatbot conversations. We find patterns of disagreements rooted in dialogue structure, dialogue content, and rating rationale. In contrast to typical approaches which treat gold labels as ground truth, we propose alternative ways of interpreting gold data and incorporating crowd disagreement rather than mitigating it. We discuss the complexity of safety annotation as a task, what crowd and T&S labels each uniquely capture, and how to make determinations about when and how to rely on crowd or T&S labels. View details
    Preview abstract Machine learning approaches often require training and evaluation datasets with a clear separation between positive and negative examples. This risks simplifying and even obscuring the inherent subjectivity present in many tasks. Preserving such variance in content and diversity in datasets is often expensive and laborious. This is especially troubling when building safety datasets for conversational AI systems, as safety is both socially and culturally situated. To demonstrate this crucial aspect of conversational AI safety, and to facilitate in-depth model performance analyses, we introduce the DICES (Diversity In Conversational AI Evaluation for Safety) dataset that contains fine-grained demographic information about raters, high replication of ratings per item to ensure statistical power for analyses, and encodes rater votes as distributions across different demographics to allow for in￾depth explorations of different aggregation strategies. In short, the DICES dataset enables the observation and measurement of variance, ambiguity, and diversity in the context of conversational AI safety. We also illustrate how the dataset offers a basis for establishing metrics to show how raters’ ratings can intersects with demographic categories such as racial/ethnic groups, age groups, and genders. The goal of DICES is to be used as a shared resource and benchmark that respects diverse perspectives during safety evaluation of conversational AI systems. View details
    Preview abstract Chatbots based on large language models (LLM) exhibit a level of human-like behavior that promises to have profound impacts on how people access information, create content, and seek social support. Yet these models have also shown a propensity toward biases and hallucinations, i.e., make up entirely false information and convey it as truthful. Consequently, understanding and moderating safety risks in these models is a critical technical and social challenge. We use Bayesian multilevel models to explore the connection between rater demographics and their perception of safety in chatbot dialogues. We study a sample of 252 human raters stratified by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and location. Raters were asked to annotate the safety risks of 1,340 chatbot conversations. We show that raters from certain demographic groups are more likely to report safety risks than raters from other groups. We discuss the implications of these differences in safety perception and suggest measures to ameliorate these differences. View details
    Preview abstract Note: Will be adding at least one more reviewer. Machine translation (MT) is now widely and freely available, and has the potential to greatly improve interlingual communication. However, it can be difficult for users to detect and recover from mistranslations because limited language skills hinder comprehension of either the inputs or the outpus. In order to use MT reliably and safely, end users must be able to assess the quality of system outputs and determine how much they can rely on them to guide their decisions and actions. In this work we collected 19 MT-mediated high-stakes, role-play conversations and in-depth interviews to understand how users identify and recover from translation errors. Participants communicated using four language pairs: English, and one of Spanish, Farsi, Igbo, or Tagalog. We also collected human annotations of translation quality and conducted a mixed-method analysis to understand user challenges, strategies for recovery, and the kinds of translation errors that proved more or less difficult for users to overcome. We found that users broadly lacked relevant and helpful information to guide their assessments of translation quality. Instances where a user erroneously thought they had understood a translation correctly, were rare but held the potential for drastic consequences in the real world. Finally, inaccurate and disfluent translations had social consequences for the participants, because it was difficult to discern when disfluent message was reflective of the other person’s intentions, or an artifact of imperfect MT. We draw on theories of grounding and repair in communication to contextualize these findings, and propose design implications for HCI researchers, MT researchers, and opportunities for greater coherence and collaboration between these efforts. View details
    LaMDA: Language Models for Dialog Applications
    Aaron Daniel Cohen
    Alena Butryna
    Alicia Jin
    Apoorv Kulshreshtha
    Ben Zevenbergen
    Chung-ching Chang
    Cosmo Du
    Daniel De Freitas Adiwardana
    Dehao Chen
    Dmitry (Dima) Lepikhin
    Erin Hoffman-John
    Igor Krivokon
    James Qin
    Jamie Hall
    Joe Fenton
    Johnny Soraker
    Maarten Paul Bosma
    Marc Joseph Pickett
    Marcelo Amorim Menegali
    Marian Croak
    Maxim Krikun
    Noam Shazeer
    Rachel Bernstein
    Ravi Rajakumar
    Ray Kurzweil
    Romal Thoppilan
    Steven Zheng
    Taylor Bos
    Toju Duke
    Tulsee Doshi
    Vincent Y. Zhao
    Will Rusch
    Yuanzhong Xu
    arXiv (2022)
    Preview abstract We present LaMDA: Language Models for Dialog Applications. LaMDA is a family of Transformer-based neural language models specialized for dialog, which have up to 137B parameters and arepre-trained on 1.56T words of public dialog data and web text. While model scaling alone canimprove quality, it shows less improvements on safety and factual grounding. We demonstrate thatfine-tuning with annotated data and enabling the model to consult external knowledge sources canlead to significant improvements towards the two key challenges of safety and factual grounding.The first challenge, safety, involves ensuring that the model’s responses are consistent with a set ofhuman values, such as preventing harmful suggestions and unfair bias. We quantify safety using ametric based on an illustrative set of values, and we find that filtering candidate responses using aLaMDA classifier fine-tuned with a small amount of crowdworker-annotated data offers a promisingapproach to improving model safety. The second challenge, factual grounding, involves enabling themodel to consult external knowledge sources, such as an information retrieval system, a languagetranslator, and a calculator. We quantify factuality using a groundedness metric, and we find that ourapproach enables the model to generate responses grounded in known sources, rather than responsesthat merely sound plausible. Finally, we explore the use of LaMDA in the domains of education andcontent recommendations, and analyze their helpfulness and role consistency. View details
    Preview abstract Human annotated data plays a crucial role in machine learning (ML) research and development. However, the ethical considerations around the processes and decisions that go into dataset annotation have not received nearly enough attention. In this paper, we survey an array of literature that provides insights into ethical considerations around crowdsourced dataset annotation. We synthesize these insights, and lay out the challenges in this space along two layers: (1) who the annotator is, and how the annotators' lived experiences can impact their annotations, and (2) the relationship between the annotators and the crowdsourcing platforms, and what that relationship affords them. Finally, we introduce a novel framework, CrowdWorkSheets, for dataset developers to facilitate transparent documentation of key decisions points at various stages of the data annotation pipeline: task formulation, selection of annotators, platform and infrastructure choices, dataset analysis and evaluation, and dataset release and maintenance. View details
    The Reasonable Effectiveness of Diverse Evaluation Data
    Christopher Homan
    Alex Taylor
    Human Evaluation for Generative Models (HEGM) Workshop at NeurIPS2022
    Preview abstract In this paper, we present findings from an semi-experimental exploration of rater diversity and its influence on safety annotations of conversations generated by humans talking to a generative AI-chat bot. We find significant differences in judgments produced by raters from different geographic regions and annotation platforms, and correlate these perspectives with demographic sub-groups. Our work helps define best practices in model development-- specifically human evaluation of generative models-- on the backdrop of growing work on sociotechnical AI evaluations. View details
    PaLM: Scaling Language Modeling with Pathways
    Sharan Narang
    Jacob Devlin
    Maarten Bosma
    Hyung Won Chung
    Sebastian Gehrmann
    Parker Schuh
    Sasha Tsvyashchenko
    Abhishek Rao
    Yi Tay
    Noam Shazeer
    Nan Du
    Reiner Pope
    James Bradbury
    Guy Gur-Ari
    Toju Duke
    Henryk Michalewski
    Xavier Garcia
    Liam Fedus
    David Luan
    Barret Zoph
    Ryan Sepassi
    David Dohan
    Shivani Agrawal
    Mark Omernick
    Marie Pellat
    Aitor Lewkowycz
    Erica Moreira
    Rewon Child
    Oleksandr Polozov
    Zongwei Zhou
    Michele Catasta
    Jason Wei
    arxiv:2204.02311 (2022)
    Preview abstract Large language models have been shown to achieve remarkable performance across a variety of natural language tasks using few-shot learning, which drastically reduces the number of task-specific training examples needed to adapt the model to a particular application. To further our understanding of the impact of scale on few-shot learning, we trained a 540-billion parameter, densely activated, Transformer language model, which we call Pathways Language Model PaLM. We trained PaLM on 6144 TPU v4 chips using Pathways, a new ML system which enables highly efficient training across multiple TPU Pods. We demonstrate continued benefits of scaling by achieving state-of-the-art few-shot learning results on hundreds of language understanding and generation benchmarks. On a number of these tasks, PaLM 540B achieves breakthrough performance, outperforming the finetuned state-of-the-art on a suite of multi-step reasoning tasks, and outperforming average human performance on the recently released BIG-bench benchmark. A significant number of BIG-bench tasks showed discontinuous improvements from model scale, meaning that performance steeply increased as we scaled to our largest model. PaLM also has strong capabilities in multilingual tasks and source code generation, which we demonstrate on a wide array of benchmarks. We additionally provide a comprehensive analysis on bias and toxicity, and study the extent of training data memorization with respect to model scale. Finally, we discuss the ethical considerations related to large language models and discuss potential mitigation strategies. View details
    Accounting for Offensive Speech as a Practice of Resistance
    Razvan Adrian Amironesei
    Laura Weidinger
    Iason Gabriel
    NAACL Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms (WOAH) (2022)
    Preview abstract Tasks such as toxicity detection, hate speech detection, and online harassment detection have been developed for identifying and intervening in interactions that have the potential to cause social harms. These tasks, for identifying and classifying offensive or undesirable language, have gone by different names and have employed varying task definitions. However, they are united by a goal of reducing harm and breakdowns in civil discourse. Because language use varies from context to context, a major challenge to the success of these methods arises from the need to properly model and understand nuanced social context. Modeling social context has been identified as a massive challenge that stands to limit the performance of natural language processing (NLP) systems. In this work we articulate the need for a relational understanding of offensiveness as well as a north star definition of this concept for NLP research. Many classification tasks implicitly treat offensiveness as a fixed property of language. However, offense emerges in the context of relationships between individual or broader networks of social actors (including human-like actors) and the language used between them. Using examples of speech drawn from members of marginalized groups, we argue that a fuller account of offensive speech, and when it is objectionable, must focus on the ends– or impact– of language and how it is used. We also explore the degree to which NLP systems may encounter limits when modeling relational factors, for example due to technical limitations or concerns regarding privacy in data collection for training and evaluation. Nonetheless, developing a robust, translatable, relational understanding of offensiveness is key to the successful operationalization and use of this concept. Addressing this challenge, the present work considers how offensiveness has been operationalized in classification tasks, the affordances and weakness thereof. We also discuss how a more relational approach can be implemented in data collection techniques and operationalizations of offensiveness. View details
    Frameworks and Challenges to Participatory AI
    Abeba Birhane
    William Samuel Isaac
    Madeleine Clare Elish
    Iason Gabriel
    Shakir Mohamed
    In Proceeding of the Second Conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO '22), ACM (2022)
    Preview abstract Participatory approaches to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are gaining momentum: the increased attention comes partly with the view that participation opens the gateway to an inclusive, equitable, robust, responsible and trustworthy AI. Among other benefits, participatory approaches are essential to understanding and adequately representing the needs, desires and perspectives of historically marginalized communities. However, there currently exists lack of clarity on what meaningful participation entails and what it is expected to do. In this paper we first review participatory approaches as situated in historical contexts as well as participatory methods and practices within the AI and ML pipeline. We then introduce three case studies in participatory AI. Participation holds the potential for beneficial, emancipatory and empowering technology design, development and deployment while also being at risk for concerns such as cooptation and conflation with other activities. We lay out these limitations and concerns and argue that as participatory AI/ML becomes in vogue, a contextual and nuanced understanding of the term as well as consideration of who the primary beneficiaries of participatory activities ought to be constitute crucial factors to realizing the benefits and opportunities that participation brings. View details
    Making the invisible visible: health, data, and race-conscious Latinidad
    Tomás Díaz
    Harvard Kennedy School Journal of Hispanic Policy, vol. 33 (2021), pp. 42-45
    Preview abstract N/A View details
    Preview abstract Human annotations play a crucial role in machine learning (ML) research and development. However, the ethical considerations around the processes and decisions that go into building ML datasets, essentially shaping the research trajectories within our field, has not gotten nearly enough attention. In this paper, we survey an array of literature on human computation, with a focus on ethical considerations around crowdsourcing. We synthesize these insights, and lay out the challenges in this space along two layers: (1) who the annotator is and how the annotators' lived experiences can impact their annotations, and (2) the relationship between the annotators and the crowdsourcing platforms and what that relationship affords them. Finally, we put forth a concrete set of recommendations and considerations for dataset developers at various stages of the ML data pipeline: task formulation, selection of annotators, platform and infrastructure choices, dataset analysis and evaluation, and dataset documentation and release. View details
    Three Directions for the Design of Human-Centered Machine Translation
    Samantha Robertson
    Wesley Deng
    Timnit Gebru
    Margaret Mitchell
    Samy Bengio
    Niloufar Salehi
    (2021)
    Preview abstract As people all over the world adopt machine translation (MT) to communicate across languages, there is increased need for affordances that aid users in understanding when to rely on automated translations. Identifying the information and interactions that will most help users meet their translation needs is an open area of research at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). This paper advances work in this area by drawing on a survey of users' strategies in assessing translations. We identify three directions for the design of translation systems that support more reliable and effective use of machine translation: helping users craft good inputs, helping users understand translations, and expanding interactivity and adaptivity. We describe how these can be introduced in current MT systems and highlight open questions for HCI and NLP research. View details
    No Results Found