Emergent Mind

On Learning to Summarize with Large Language Models as References

Published May 23, 2023 in cs.CL


Recent studies have found that summaries generated by large language models (LLMs) are favored by human annotators over the original reference summaries in commonly used summarization datasets. Therefore, we investigate a new learning setting of text summarization models that considers the LLMs as the reference or the gold-standard oracle on these datasets. To examine the standard practices that are aligned with this new learning setting, we investigate two LLM-based summary quality evaluation methods for model training and adopt a contrastive learning training method to leverage the LLM-guided learning signals. Our experiments on the CNN/DailyMail and XSum datasets demonstrate that smaller summarization models can achieve similar performance as LLMs under LLM-based evaluation. However, we found that the smaller models can not yet reach LLM-level performance under human evaluation despite promising improvements brought by our proposed training methods. Meanwhile, we perform a meta-analysis on this new learning setting that reveals a discrepancy between human and LLM-based evaluation, highlighting the benefits and risks of this LLM-as-reference setting we investigated.

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