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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.

May 2010


From ACM Opinion

My (Brief) Life as a Robot

My (Brief) Life as a Robot

On Wednesday I attended a Silicon Valley press conference dressed as a robot. Actually I was physically in New York City and virtually in Menlo Park, Calif. For any one who has seen Iron Man 2, the whole event seemed like life…


From ACM Opinion

Venter: The Implications of Our Synthetic Cell

We did not create life from scratch: we transformed existing life into new life. Nor did we design and build a new chromosome from scratch. Rather, using only digitised information, we synthesised a modified version, a copy of…


From ACM Opinion

From Facebook, Answering Privacy Concerns with New Settings

From Facebook, Answering Privacy Concerns with New Settings

Six years ago, we built Facebook around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. If we give people control over what they share, they will want to share more.…


From ACM Opinion

The Death of the Open Web

The Web is a teeming commercial city. It's haphazardly planned. Its public spaces are mobbed, and signs of urban decay abound in broken links and abandoned projects. Malware and spam have turned living conditions in many quarters…


From ACM Opinion

How the U.S. Military Can Win the Robotic Revolution

How the U.S. Military Can Win the Robotic Revolution

One of the great conundrums of war and technology is the odd fact that there is no such thing as a permanent first-mover advantage.


From ACM Opinion

The Cyborg Insects Are Coming!

The Cyborg Insects Are Coming!

Telepathic helmets. Grid-computing swarms of cyborg insects, some for surveillance, some with lethal stingers. New cognitive-enhancement drugs. (What? Adderall and Provigil aren't good enough for you?) Lethal autonomous robots…


From ACM Opinion

Web Browsers Leave 'Fingerprints' Behind as You Surf the Net

New research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has found that an overwhelming majority of web browsers have unique signatures--creating identifiable "fingerprints" that could be used to track you as you surf the Internet…


From ACM TechNews

Gary McGraw on Developing Secure Software

Gary McGraw on Developing Secure Software

Cigital CTO Gary McGraw and colleagues examined 30 companies' secure software development practices to create a measurement instrument that companies could use to enhance their own software security efforts. 


From ACM Opinion

Why Publishers Should Beware the App Store

Why Publishers Should Beware the App Store

In a brilliant column published 16 years ago, the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco explained the difference between Apple and Microsoft in terms of the divide between Catholics and Protestants. In the DOS-based universe, he noted…


From ACM Opinion

Immigration and IDs: A Modest Proposal

All Americans--whether brown, white, or black--should be required to carry a passport showing they are red, white, and blue.


From ACM TechNews

HTML: Still Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

The headaches of Web application development are being compounded by the ever-proliferating morass of Web standards, frameworks, and tools.


From ACM Opinion

10 Reasons Why Android Will Dominate the Mobile Market

10 Reasons Why Android Will Dominate the Mobile Market

Google's Android mobile operating system platform has outsold the iPhone in the first quarter of 2010 according to The NPD Group, a consumer market research and analysis firm. Those figures were helped by HTC's Incredible,…


From ACM Opinion

Sociologists Invade World of Warcraft, See Humanity's Future

Sociologists Invade World of Warcraft, See Humanity's Future

In their continued quest to plumb the mysterious depths of human interactions, some sociologists have stopped watching people—and started watching their avatars. And the U.S. government is paying them to do it.


From ACM Opinion

Just How Fragile Is the Internet?

Just How Fragile Is the Internet?

In 1998, a hacker told Congress that he could bring down the Internet in 30 minutes by exploiting a certain flaw that sometimes caused online outages. In 2003, the Bush administration concluded that fixing this flaw was in…


From ACM Opinion

Apple: The Microsoft of Mobile?

Apple could soon be the target of an antitrust investigation by either the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice, according to numerous press reports, with the feds focusing on its new policy requiring developers…


From ACM Opinion

Interview With Dr. Bruno Bachimont

Interview With Dr. Bruno Bachimont

Bruno Bachimont, scientific advisor of the Department of Research and Innovation at France's Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, discusses the constructive mix of human and natural sciences, incorporating philosophy, technology…


From ACM Opinion

Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition

The accuracy of computer speech recognition flat-lined in 2001, before reaching human levels. The funding plug was pulled, but no funeral, no text-to-speech eulogy followed. Words never meant very much to computers--which made…


From ACM Opinion

The Disruptive Future of Printing

The Disruptive Future of Printing

Imagine a school where a student could sketch out an idea for a new design of bicycle and not only draw it in 3D using a computer-aided design package but actually create a scale-model and test it out, using inexpensive materials…


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's 'Evil Interfaces'

Social networking companies don't have it easy. Advertisers covet their users' data, and in a niche that often seems to lack a clear business model, selling (or otherwise leveraging) that data is a tremendously tempting opportunity…


From ACM TechNews

Innovations in STEM Education: A Conversation With PCAST's Jim Gates

An upcoming President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report will address the issue of improving pre-college math and science education in the United States. 


From Communications of the ACM

Can IT Lean Against the Wind?

Can IT Lean Against the Wind?

Lessons from the global financial crisis.


From Communications of the ACM

Great Computing Museums of the World, Part Two

Great Computing Museums of the World, Part Two

The second of a two-part series highlighting several of the world's museums dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and elucidating computing history.


From Communications of the ACM

Cloud Computing and Electricity: Beyond the Utility Model

Cloud Computing and Electricity: Beyond the Utility Model

Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, and general applicability of the computing-as-utility business model.


From Communications of the ACM

Is Mobile Email Addiction Overlooked?

Is Mobile Email Addiction Overlooked?

Studying the prevalence of mobile email addiction and the associated possible implications for organizations.


From Communications of the ACM

How to Make Progress in Computing Education

How to Make Progress in Computing Education

Improving the research base for computing education requires securing competitive funding commitments.

Blog at CACM
Cybersecurity in the Trump Era
Cybersecurity in the Trump Era
03.27.2017

Deterrence is simply the wrong way to think about cybersecurity.

Ethical Theories Spotted in Silicon Valley
Ethical Theories Spotted in Silicon Valley
03.16.2017

Some of the prevailing theories of ethics surface in modern high tech.  We take a quick and rather superficial look …

Just Press Reboot
Just Press Reboot
03.13.2017

Why does the press continue to talk about "computer problems"?

View More Blog@CACM

Latest News
Silicon Valley's Quest to Live Forever
Silicon Valley's Quest to Live Forever
03.27.2017

On a velvety March evening in Mandeville Canyon, high above …

Scientists Hack a Human Cell and Reprogram It Like a Computer
Scientists Hack a Human Cell and Reprogram It Like a Computer
03.27.2017

Cells are basically tiny computers: They send and receive inputs …

People Remain Calm as the World Ends, Video Game Study Suggests
People Remain Calm as the World Ends, Video Game Study Suggests
03.27.2017

University at Buffalo researchers found despite some violent acts, most …

View More News

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