Can We Edit Factual Knowledge by In-Context Learning?

Ce Zheng, Lei li, Qingxiu Dong, Yuxuan Fan, Zhiyong Wu, Jingjing Xu, Baobao Chang

Previous studies have shown that large language models (LLMs) like GPTs store massive factual knowledge in their parameters. However, the stored knowledge could be false or out-dated. Traditional knowledge editing methods refine LLMs via fine-tuning on texts containing specific knowledge. However, with the increasing scales of LLMs, these gradient-based approaches bring large computation costs. The trend of model-as-a-service also makes it impossible to modify knowledge in black-box LMs. Inspired by in-context learning (ICL), a new paradigm based on demonstration contexts without parameter updating, we explore whether ICL can edit factual knowledge. To answer this question, we give a comprehensive empirical study of ICL strategies. Experiments show that in-context knowledge editing (IKE), without any gradient and parameter updating, achieves a competitive success rate compared to gradient-based methods on GPT-J (6B) but with much fewer side effects, including less over-editing on similar but unrelated facts and less knowledge forgetting on previously stored knowledge. We also apply the method to larger LMs with tens or hundreds of parameters like OPT-175B, which shows the scalability of our method. The code is available at

Knowledge Graph



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