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Communications of the ACM

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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

October 2014


From ACM Opinion

The Holder of Secrets

The Holder of Secrets

From the garden terrace of a sixth-floor walkup on a quiet Berlin street, there was a clear view to the TV Tower, in Alexanderplatz.


From ACM Opinion

FBI Director on Privacy, Electronic Surveillance

FBI Director on Privacy, Electronic Surveillance

James Comey, the director of the FBI, says the Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable.


From ACM Opinion

How Big Data Algorithms See Us—While They Eat Us Up

How Big Data Algorithms See Us—While They Eat Us Up

Four years ago I interviewed Sam Yagan, then CEO of OKCupid, about the mathematics underlying his free matchmaking site.


From ACM Opinion

Countering Tech's Damaging Effect on Jobs

Countering Tech's Damaging Effect on Jobs

Advances in information and communications technology are destroying more jobs in advanced economies than the advances are creating. This poses a political challenge for governments throughout the developed world.


From ACM Opinion

The Adultery Arms Race

The Adultery Arms Race

Jay's wife, Ann, was supposed to be out of town on business.


From ACM Opinion

The August Smart Lock Shows Why You Should Stick With Dumb Keys

The August Smart Lock Shows Why You Should Stick With Dumb Keys

You almost certainly don't need a digital smart lock for your front door.


From ACM Opinion

Why Germans Are Afraid of Google

Why Germans Are Afraid of Google

These days Germany is known for being many things: a leader in clean technology, a manufacturing powerhouse, Europe's foreign policy center.


From ACM Opinion

Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You'll Buy

Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You'll Buy

Where you live says a lot about you—and nobody knows that better than marketeers. Now, though, you can take a glimpse at what they know, using this searchable map built by software company Esri.


From ACM Opinion

5 Insights from Vint Cerf on Bitcoin, Net Neutrality and More

5 Insights from Vint Cerf on Bitcoin, Net Neutrality and More

When Vint Cerf, often called the "father of the Internet," is speaking, it's wise to listen.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Schmidt Fires Back Over Encryption

Google's Schmidt Fires Back Over Encryption

To hear Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt tell it, the U.S. government has only itself to blame for new efforts by Google and Apple Inc. to keep police out of suspects' smartphones.


From ACM Opinion

The Myth of the Lone Genius

The Myth of the Lone Genius

The computer and the Internet are among the most important inventions of our era, but few people know who created them.


From ACM Opinion

Should We Tailor Difficulty of a School Text to Child's Comfort Level or Make Them Sweat?

Should We Tailor Difficulty of a School Text to Child's Comfort Level or Make Them Sweat?

"A man who traveled from Liberia to visit family members in Texas tested positive for Ebola on Tuesday, marking the outbreak's first diagnosis outside of Africa, health officials said."


From ACM Opinion

The Planning Machine

The Planning Machine

In June, 1972, Ángel Parra, Chile’s leading folksinger, wrote a song titled "Litany for a Computer and a Baby About to Be Born."


From ACM Opinion

Your Phone Screen Just Won the Nobel Prize in Physics

Your Phone Screen Just Won the Nobel Prize in Physics

You've probably got the fruits of this year’s Nobel laureates' handiwork in your pocket. In fact, if you're reading this on your phone or a relatively recent flat-screen monitor, you're more than likely staring at some of them


From ACM Opinion

The Fourth Major Era of Computing Kicks In

The Fourth Major Era of Computing Kicks In

With mobile users now outnumbering desktop users, a new economic cycle has begun.


From ACM Opinion

Can Virtual Reality Make You a Better Person?

Can Virtual Reality Make You a Better Person?

"This is already so real, I don’t know if I even want to do this anymore," I say out loud.


From ACM Opinion

The NSA and Me

The NSA and Me

The tone of the answering machine message was routine, like a reminder for a dental appointment. But there was also an undercurrent of urgency.


From ACM Opinion

How The Cold War And George Orwell Helped Make The Internet What It Is

How The Cold War And George Orwell Helped Make The Internet What It Is

The story of how the digital age came to be involves a cast of more than 40 people, ranging from a 19th century English countess to California hippies.


From ACM Opinion

Intel Meets its 'Makers,' with Chips for DIY Set and the Firms They'll Found

Intel Meets its 'Makers,' with Chips for DIY Set and the Firms They'll Found

Intel's Edison chip has been launched in a rocket, floated in a weather balloon, fitted into a futuristic light-emitting dress and used to power a dancing robot spider.


From ACM Opinion

We Want Privacy, but Can't Stop Sharing

We Want Privacy, but Can't Stop Sharing

Imagine a world suddenly devoid of doors.


From ACM Opinion

Every Computer System Can Be Compromised

Every Computer System Can Be Compromised

Unfortunately, there are many risks inherent in online banking and debit cards.


From ACM Opinion

Cyber Spy High: Meet the NSA's Hacker Recruiter

Cyber Spy High: Meet the NSA's Hacker Recruiter

The National Security Agency has a recruiting problem.


From ACM Opinion

How Humans Could Inhabit the Solar System

How Humans Could Inhabit the Solar System

With our rising planet's population competing for space and resources, some people are convinced we need to look beyond Earth to help ensure humanity's survival.


From ACM Opinion

What It Will Take for Computers to Be Conscious

What It Will Take for Computers to Be Conscious

Is a worm conscious? How about a bumblebee? Does a computer that can play chess "feel" anything?


From ACM Opinion

A Rare Look at Design Genius Jony Ive: The Man Behind the Apple Watch

A Rare Look at Design Genius Jony Ive: The Man Behind the Apple Watch

I first catch sight of Jony Ive across the Apple campus, in a plain Dodger-blue T-shirt and white painter's pants, in conversation, nodding.


From Communications of the ACM

Risks and Myths of Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage

Risks and Myths of Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage

Considering existing and new types of risks inherent in cloud services.


From Communications of the ACM

Outsourcing Responsibility

Outsourcing Responsibility

What do you do when your debugger fails you?


From Communications of the ACM

Vendor: Vidi, Vici

Vendor: Vidi, Vici

Some hidden costs of outsourcing.


From Communications of the ACM

The Bitcoin Ecosystem

The Bitcoin Ecosystem

Speculating on how the Bitcoin economy might evolve.


From Communications of the ACM

A Turing Tale

A Turing Tale

Assessing the accuracy of popular descriptions of Alan Turing's influences and legacy.

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