Top China Critic Becomes Its Defender

WASHINGTON — For decades, Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, was reliably one of Washington’s toughest critics when it came to China and its trade practices.

But since brokering a trade deal with Beijing in January, he has become one of China’s biggest defenders within the administration, emerging as an obstacle to lawmakers and other top White House officials who want to punish China over its treatment of ethnic Muslims and begin trade talks with Taiwan.

Over the past several months, Mr. Lighthizer has pushed back on several proposed policy measures that rankled Beijing, arguing those efforts could disrupt the U.S.-China trade pact that he and President Trump spent more than two years trying to forge, according to several former government officials and other people familiar with the conversations.

Mr. Lighthizer has also curtailed his public criticisms of China, instead touting Beijing’s efforts to uphold the trade pact

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NOAA pick is critic of Weather Service, dire climate forecasts

The position, pushed forward by the White House pending completion of ethics and security reviews and not requiring Senate confirmation, would put Maue in a leadership position within the agency. As chief scientist, Maue would be tasked with helping establish its oceans and atmosphere research priorities, as well as playing a role in enforcing its scientific integrity policy.

The White House and NOAA declined to comment, and the Commerce Department, which oversees the NOAA, did not respond to a request for comment.

The NOAA scientific integrity policy is meant to prevent political influence from interfering with its scientific work, as well as the communication of NOAA scientists’ findings. The current acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, initiated an investigation into actions by NOAA leadership during the controversy surrounding the agency’s support for President Trump’s inaccurate claims regarding the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Maue serves as the developer of weathermodels.com, a site

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How do we know AI is ready to be in the wild? Maybe a critic is needed

Mischief can happen when AI is let loose in the world, just like any technology. The examples of AI gone wrong are numerous, the most vivid in recent memory being the disastrously bad performance of Amazon’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition, which had a propensity to erroneously match members of some ethnic groups with criminal mugshots to a disproportionate extent. 

Given the risk, how can society know if a technology has been adequately refined to a level where it is safe to deploy?

“This is a really good question, and one we are actively working on, “Sergey Levine, assistant professor with the University of California at Berkeley’s department of electrical engineering and computer science, told ZDNet by email this week. 

Levine and colleagues have been working on an approach to machine learning where the decisions of a software program are subjected to a critique by another algorithm within the same program

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