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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.

August 2014


From ACM Opinion

Singularity or Transhumanism: What Word Should We Use to Discuss the Future?

Singularity or Transhumanism: What Word Should We Use to Discuss the Future?

Singularity. Posthuman. Techno-Optimism, Cyborgism. Humanity+. Immortalist. Machine intelligence. Biohacker. Robotopia. Life extension. Transhumanism.


From ACM Opinion

The History Inside Us

The History Inside Us

Every day our DNA breaks a little. Special enzymes keep our genome intact while we're alive, but after death, once the oxygen runs out, there is no more repair.


From ACM Opinion

Why Big Data Has Some Big Problems When It Comes to Public Policy

Why Big Data Has Some Big Problems When It Comes to Public Policy

For all the talk about using big data and data science to solve the world’s problems—and even all the talk about big data as one of the world’s problems—it seems like we still have a long way to go.


From ACM Opinion

Why You Shouldn't Be Freaked Out By What Marketers Know About You

Why You Shouldn't Be Freaked Out By What Marketers Know About You

Becky Burr, chief privacy officer of Neustart,  discusses the company's privacy-by-design policy, public misconceptions about data collection, and what she does to safeguard her information.


From ACM Opinion

In Praise of Efficient Price Gouging

In Praise of Efficient Price Gouging

In the four years since the car service Uber launched, it has been beset by criticism from myriad groups, including city officials annoyed by its sometimes cavalier attitude toward regulation and taxi companies annoyed by increased…


From ACM Careers

Roots of a High-Tech Revolution

Roots of a High-Tech Revolution

Chuck Hull, 75, is co-founder and chief technology officer of 3D Systems. He is the inventor of the 3-D printer, which recently celebrated its 31st anniversary.


From ACM Opinion

A Unified Theory

A Unified Theory

For the last half-century we've had a popular notion that our intellectual culture is sundered in two—the literary and the scientific.


From ACM Opinion

The New Editors of the Internet

The New Editors of the Internet

Bowing to their better civic natures, and the pleas of James Foley's family, Twitter and YouTube have pulled down videos and photos of his murder.


From ACM Opinion

How to Save the Net: Keep It Open

How to Save the Net: Keep It Open

For all of its history, the Internet has enjoyed the fruits of an openness principle: the idea that anyone can reach any site online and that information and data should be freely exchangeable.


From ACM Opinion

Tor Project's Struggle to Keep the Dark Net in the Shadows

Tor Project's Struggle to Keep the Dark Net in the Shadows

The BBC has interviewed Andrew Lewman, executive director of the Tor Project.


From ACM Opinion

Anatomy of an Air Strike: Three Intelligence Streams Working in Concert

Anatomy of an Air Strike: Three Intelligence Streams Working in Concert

In a fast-moving war with an elusive foe like the Islamic State militants, information is as important as guns, jet fighters and bombs.


From ACM Opinion

Police Cameras Can Shed Light, but Raise Privacy Concerns

Police Cameras Can Shed Light, but Raise Privacy Concerns

Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot during an encounter with police in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, was recorded by a convenience store surveillance camera a few minutes before he was killed, according to police.


From ACM Opinion

James Foley: Extremists Battle with Social Media

James Foley: Extremists Battle with Social Media

Just as Islamic State (IS) has swept across Iraq, so too has it swarmed over social media—using the platform with a sophistication never before witnessed in this way.


From ACM Opinion

Cryptography Expert Says, 'PGP Encryption is Fundamentally Broken, Time for PGP to Die'

Cryptography Expert Says, 'PGP Encryption is Fundamentally Broken, Time for PGP to Die'

A Senior cryptography expert has claimed multiple issues with PGP email encryption—an open source end-to-end encryption to secure email.


From ACM Opinion

The Engineer of the Original Apple Mouse Talks About His Remarkable Career

The Engineer of the Original Apple Mouse Talks About His Remarkable Career

Jim Yurchenco was responsible for squeezing the guts inside the impossibly slim Palm V.


From ACM Opinion

Could Google Glass Ruin Your Memory?

Could Google Glass Ruin Your Memory?

We’ve all done it: We’re at an event, we take a bunch of photos with our phones, we take a selfie and maybe one with a friend, we post all the images online, and we’re done.


From ACM Opinion

How to Save the Net: Don’t Give In to Big ISPs

How to Save the Net: Don’t Give In to Big ISPs

The Internet has already changed how we live and work, and we're only just getting started. Who'd have thought even five years ago that people would be streaming Ultra HD 4K video over their home Internet connections?


From ACM TechNews

Stroustrup: Why the 35-Year-Old C++ Still Dominates 'Real' Dev

Stroustrup: Why the 35-Year-Old C++ Still Dominates 'Real' Dev

C++ designer Bjarne Stroustrup says the programming language remains vital and relevant 35 years after he first designed it because of its ability to handle complexity, making it the go-to solution for telecom, financial, and…


From ACM Opinion

Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet

Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet

All these people are trying to kill email.


From ACM Opinion

Former NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis

Former NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis

More than a year after ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden began leaking details of the agency's electronic surveillance programs, questions remain about how he accessed so many documents, and about the technology…


From ACM Opinion

Why the Public Library Beats Amazon—for Now

Why the Public Library Beats Amazon—for Now

A growing stack of companies would like you to pay a monthly fee to read e-books, just like you subscribe to Netflix to binge on movies and TV shows.


From ACM Opinion

Beyond Classic Brain Illustrations That Make Us Drool

Beyond Classic Brain Illustrations That Make Us Drool

I threw down a bit of a challenge last month at the Association of Medical Illustrators Conference in Minnesota.


From ACM Opinion

OkCupid's Co-Founder on Experiments, Data Science and the Myth of the 'Unicorn'

OkCupid's Co-Founder on Experiments, Data Science and the Myth of the 'Unicorn'

Christian Rudder, co-founder and president of the IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s OkCupid, caused a stir recently when he responded to Facebook's news feed controversy with some no-regrets commentsabout the dating website's own experiments…


From ACM Opinion

What It's Like to Fly Passenger Planes from the Ground

What It's Like to Fly Passenger Planes from the Ground

Bob Fraser explains what it feels like to pilot a Jetstream airliner containing passengers on 800-kilometre trips from his desk at BAE Systems in Warton, U.K.


From ACM Opinion

Founder of America's Biggest Hacker Conference: 'We Understand the Threat Now'

Founder of America's Biggest Hacker Conference: 'We Understand the Threat Now'

For one weekend every year, thousands of the world’s best—or worst, depending on your point of view—hackers meet in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Defcon.


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence Will Not Turn Into a Frankenstein's Monster

Artificial Intelligence Will Not Turn Into a Frankenstein's Monster

The singularity—or, to give it its proper title, the technological singularity. It's an idea that has taken on a life of its own; more of a life, I suspect, than what it predicts ever will.


From ACM Opinion

Why One of Cybersecurity's Thought Leaders Uses a Pager Instead of a Smart Phone

Why One of Cybersecurity's Thought Leaders Uses a Pager Instead of a Smart Phone

In the computer and network security industry, few people are as well known as Dan Geer.


From ACM Opinion

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here's What It Did to Me

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here's What It Did to Me

There's this great Andy Warhol quote you’ve probably seen before: "I think everybody should like everybody."


From ACM Opinion

How WWI Codebreakers Taught Your Gas Meter to Snitch on You

How WWI Codebreakers Taught Your Gas Meter to Snitch on You

In the depths of night on August 5th 1914 the British Cable Ship Alert took the first significant action of World War I, severing the five German submarine cables that ran through the English Channel.


From ACM Opinion

Little Green Men Might Not Be So 'Green'

Little Green Men Might Not Be So 'Green'

Humans are affecting the Earth’s systems on a global scale. Industrial pollutants are accumulating in our atmosphere with the potential for long-term impact on global climate and biodiversity.

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