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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


Friendly Nurse or Nightmare-Inducing Machine? How Culture Programs Our Taste in Robots.
From ACM News

Friendly Nurse or Nightmare-Inducing Machine? How Culture Programs Our Taste in Robots.

Slowly and silently, they glide across the floor wearing bright yellow dresses that look as though they were plucked from a haunted 1920s boarding school.

Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence
From ACM News

Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence

You can think of it as a World Cup of biochemical research.

The CRISPR Machines that Can Wipe Out Entire Species
From ACM News

The CRISPR Machines that Can Wipe Out Entire Species

Charles Darwin had no idea what a gene was. If we dropped the father of evolution into 2019, the idea that humans can willfully alter the genes of an entire species...

Lawmakers Put Pentagon's Cyber in Their Sights
From ACM News

Lawmakers Put Pentagon's Cyber in Their Sights

Congress has a new rising target when it comes to cyber: The Pentagon.

5 Reasons Why Autonomous Cars Aren't Coming Anytime Soon
From ACM News

5 Reasons Why Autonomous Cars Aren't Coming Anytime Soon

In the world of autonomous vehicles, Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley are bustling hubs of development and testing. But ask those involved in self-driving vehicles...

How Machine Learning Could Keep Dangerous DNA Out of Terrorists' Hands
From ACM News

How Machine Learning Could Keep Dangerous DNA Out of Terrorists' Hands

Biologists the world over routinely pay companies to synthesize snippets of DNA for use in the laboratory or clinic.

Harvard's Top Astronomer Says an Alien Ship May Be Among ­s, and He Doesn't Care What His Colleagues Think
From ACM News

Harvard's Top Astronomer Says an Alien Ship May Be Among ­s, and He Doesn't Care What His Colleagues Think

Before he started the whole alien spaceship thing last year, the chairman of Harvard University's astronomy department was known for public lectures on modesty....

Deep Learning 'Godfather' Bengio Worries About China's ­se of AI
From ACM News

Deep Learning 'Godfather' Bengio Worries About China's ­se of AI

Yoshua Bengio, a Canadian computer scientist who helped pioneer the techniques underpinning much of the current excitement around artificial intelligence, is worried...

Identifying Artificial Intelligence 'Blind Spots'
From ACM News

Identifying Artificial Intelligence 'Blind Spots'

A novel model developed by MIT and Microsoft researchers identifies instances in which autonomous systems have "learned" from training examples that don't match...

Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum
From ACM TechNews

Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum

Harvard University researchers hope to make ethical considerations a key component of computer science education.

'This Could Be the End' for NASA's Mars Opportunity Rover
From ACM News

'This Could Be the End' for NASA's Mars Opportunity Rover

NASA's Opportunity rover began its 15th year on Mars this week, although the intrepid robotic explorer may already be dead.

Washington Fears New Threat from 'Deepfake' Videos
From ACM News

Washington Fears New Threat from 'Deepfake' Videos

Lawmakers and experts are sounding the alarm about "deepfakes," forged videos that look remarkably real, warning they will be the next phase in disinformation campaigns...

Mysterious Planet Nine Hiding Beyond Neptune Might Not Be a Planet at All
From ACM News

Mysterious Planet Nine Hiding Beyond Neptune Might Not Be a Planet at All

Out past Neptune, something weird is happening to the orbits of a bunch of space rocks circling the sun. Something, scientists believed, that could only be described...

Giving Algorithms a Sense of ­ncertainty Could Make Them More Ethical
From ACM News

Giving Algorithms a Sense of ­ncertainty Could Make Them More Ethical

Algorithms are increasingly being used to make ethical decisions. Perhaps the best example of this is a high-tech take on the ethical dilemma known as the trolley...

Hidden History of the Milky Way Revealed by Extensive Star Maps
From ACM News

Hidden History of the Milky Way Revealed by Extensive Star Maps

Last April, Amina Helmi felt goose bumps while driving to work in the northern Netherlands. It had nothing to do with the weather—it was pure anticipation. Just...

Have Aliens Found ­s? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua
From ACM Opinion

Have Aliens Found ­s? A Harvard Astronomer on the Mysterious Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua

On October 19, 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted a strange object travelling through our solar system, which they later described as "a red...

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon
From ACM News

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon

While black holes themselves swallow any light beyond their event horizon, the area outside the event horizon tends to emit lots of light.

The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel
From ACM News

The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel

Commuters inching through rush-hour traffic in the Holland Tunnel between Lower Manhattan and New Jersey don't know it, but a technology likely to be the future...

A Neural Network Can Learn to Organize the World It Sees Into Concepts, Just Like We Do
From ACM News

A Neural Network Can Learn to Organize the World It Sees Into Concepts, Just Like We Do

GANs, or generative adversarial networks, are the social-media starlet of AI algorithms. They are responsible for creating the first AI painting ever sold at an ...

The Race to Develop the World's Best Quantum Tech
From ACM News

The Race to Develop the World's Best Quantum Tech

A few days before Christmas, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that devotes more than US $1.2 billion to a national effort dedicated to quantum...
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