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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.

June 2014


From ACM Opinion

What Your Cell Phone Can't Tell the Police

What Your Cell Phone Can't Tell the Police

On May 28th, Lisa Marie Roberts, of Portland, Oregon, was released from prison after serving nine and a half years for a murder she didn't commit.


From ACM Opinion

The Troubling Truth of Why It's Still So Hard to Share Files Directly

The Troubling Truth of Why It's Still So Hard to Share Files Directly

It's not always easy to spot the compromises in the technology we use, where we've allowed corporate interests to trump public ideals like privacy and press freedom.


From ACM Opinion

The Tech-Savvy Supreme Court

The Tech-Savvy Supreme Court

The two major technology-related decisions handed down by the Supreme Court this week have been widely greeted by people in the tech industry as one win and one loss.


From ACM Opinion

New N.S.A. Chief Calls Damage From Snowden Leaks Manageable

New N.S.A. Chief Calls Damage From Snowden Leaks Manageable

The newly installed director of the National Security Agency says that while he has seen some terrorist groups alter their communications to avoid surveillance techniques revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the damage done over all…


From ACM Opinion

Ray Kurzweil Says He's Breathing Intelligence into Google Search

Ray Kurzweil Says He's Breathing Intelligence into Google Search

The big announcements at Google's I/O event in San Francisco Wednesday didn't mention Web search, the technology that got the company started and made it so successful. But in a small session later that day, the inventor andRay…


From ACM Opinion

I Sent All My Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week

I Sent All My Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week

I got my first mobile phone when I was in high school. It was 2005, and the feeling of "cool" overwhelmed me.


From ACM Opinion

Larry Page on Google's Many Arms

Larry Page on Google's Many Arms

One way to think of Google is as an extremely helpful, all-knowing, hyper-intelligent executive assistant.


From ACM Opinion

Should We Fear the Robots of the Future?

Should We Fear the Robots of the Future?

The world's oldest technology magazine is the MIT Technology Review.


From ACM Opinion

Visualizing Algorithms

Visualizing Algorithms

Algorithms are a fascinating use case for visualization.


From ACM Opinion

Joseph LeDoux

Joseph LeDoux

When it comes to the study of memory, we might be living in something of a golden age.


From ACM Opinion

Searching for Answers in Very Old DNA

Searching for Answers in Very Old DNA

As he puts it in the subtitle of his memoir, "Neanderthal Man," Svante Paabo goes in search of lost genomes.


From ACM Opinion

The Beautiful, Invisible Game

The Beautiful, Invisible Game

The first goal of the 2014 World Cup was Brazilian, and it was an own goal.


From ACM Opinion

How the Supreme Court Ruling Affects Aereo, the Cloud, and You

How the Supreme Court Ruling Affects Aereo, the Cloud, and You

The chief of streaming-TV start-up Aereo has said his mission to bring unbundled broadcast TV to the Internet has greater stakes than just the fate of his company—and it's the crusaders, taking on those with power, who fill graveyards…


From ACM Opinion

Google's Sundar Pichai Is the Most Powerful Man in Mobile

Google's Sundar Pichai Is the Most Powerful Man in Mobile

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Samsung introduced new software for its tablets, called the Magazine UX.


From ACM Opinion

The Case That Might Cripple Facebook

The Case That Might Cripple Facebook

An Irish judge has rendered a preliminary judgment that may have sweeping consequences for U.S. e-commerce firms.


From ACM News

These Psychedelic Images Find Order Amid Chaos

These Psychedelic Images Find Order Amid Chaos

What do you see when you look at these images?


From ACM Opinion

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Advocates for Security Cameras to Be Added to All City Subway Cars

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Advocates for Security Cameras to Be Added to All City Subway Cars

The NYPD could have dozens of new eyes in the transit system—without a cop setting foot on a train—if a plan to put surveillance cameras in subway cars gets the green light.


From ACM Opinion

Three Questions with Amazon's Technology Chief, Werner Vogels

Three Questions with Amazon's Technology Chief, Werner Vogels

In the eight years since Amazon.com rolled out its cloud-computing business, Amazon Web Services, this has grown from a side project that took advantage of the online retailer’s extra computing power to a leader in the fast-growing…


From ACM Opinion

Former NSA Chief Mike McConnell Says Culture, Not Tech, Is Key to Cyber Defense

Former NSA Chief Mike McConnell Says Culture, Not Tech, Is Key to Cyber Defense

John M. (Mike) McConnell says that technology alone isn't enough to secure corporate networks from pervasive and increasingly damaging cyberattacks.


From ACM Opinion

Quantum Chaos: After a Failed Speed Test, the D-Wave Debate Continues

Quantum Chaos: After a Failed Speed Test, the D-Wave Debate Continues

How hard can it be to determine whether a computer works as promised?


From ACM Opinion

What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality

What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality

Even Sunday night HBO watchers are worried the Federal Communications Commission will soon put an end to net neutrality.


From ACM Opinion

Why I'm Not in a Hurry for a 'Smart Home'

Why I'm Not in a Hurry for a 'Smart Home'

Here's what it's like to wake up in America's smartest home.


From ACM Opinion

Coder's High

Coder's High

These days I write more than I code, but one of the things I miss about programming is the coder's high: those times when, for hours on end, I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human…


From ACM Opinion

When Is It OK to Check a Smartphone at the Dinner Table?

When Is It OK to Check a Smartphone at the Dinner Table?

Not long ago, I went to a nice restaurant with five friends. Good food. Better cocktails.


From ACM Opinion

Stephen Hawking: AI Could Be a 'Real Danger'

Stephen Hawking: AI Could Be a 'Real Danger'

I don't want to frighten you.


From ACM Opinion

Is China a Scientific Powerhouse?

Is China a Scientific Powerhouse?

China has vastly expanded higher education over the past three decades—in 1982, less than 1 percent of China’s twenty-somethings had attended college; by 2010, the figure had risen to 20 percent.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Eyes in the Sky

Google's Eyes in the Sky

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page built the search engine that would become Google, they started by making maps.


From ACM Opinion

Jonathan Ive on Apple's Design Process and Product Philosophy

Jonathan Ive on Apple's Design Process and Product Philosophy

When Steven P. Jobs led Apple, he created a core principle for the company's designers and engineers: stay fully focused on making great products.


From ACM Opinion

Dobby, Pikachu, and Kermit Are My Robots' Role Models

Dobby, Pikachu, and Kermit Are My Robots' Role Models

Humanoid robots aren't very charismatic yet.


From ACM Opinion

Turn Detroit into Drone Valley

Turn Detroit into Drone Valley

The popular recipe for creating the "next" Silicon Valley goes something like this:

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