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Why Robots Must Learn to Tell ­S 'no'
From ACM Opinion

Why Robots Must Learn to Tell ­S 'no'

HAL 9000, the sentient computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, offers an ominous glimpse of a future in which machines endowed with artificial intelligence reject human...

E-Voting Refuses to Die Even Though It's Neither Secure Nor Secret
From ACM Opinion

E-Voting Refuses to Die Even Though It's Neither Secure Nor Secret

In theory, using the internet or e-mail to vote for the U.S. president sounds like a good idea.

AI Is Not Out to Get ­S
From ACM Opinion

AI Is Not Out to Get ­S

Elon Musk's new plan to go all-in on self-driving vehicles puts a lot of faith in the artificial intelligence needed to ensure his Teslas can read and react to...

Could Obama's Threat of Retaliation Against Russia Lead to Cyberwar?
From ACM Opinion

Could Obama's Threat of Retaliation Against Russia Lead to Cyberwar?

Late last week Obama administration officials used NBC News to send Moscow a cryptic threat: The U.S. government is "contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert...

Grading the Presidential Candidates on Science
From ACM Opinion

Grading the Presidential Candidates on Science

Two weeks ago, Scientific American asked for your help in grading the presidential candidates on their answers to 20 questions about various aspects of scientific...

20 Big Questions About the Future of Humanity
From ACM Opinion

20 Big Questions About the Future of Humanity

1. Does humanity have a future beyond Earth?

Mind-Controlled Robo-Skeleton Enables Paraplegics to Regain Some Motion
From ACM Opinion

Mind-Controlled Robo-Skeleton Enables Paraplegics to Regain Some Motion

Patients paralyzed by a spinal cord injury can face a grim and grueling recovery process—one in which regaining function is far from a sure thing. But a new study...

Americans Are Wary About Body-Enhancement Technologies
From ACM Opinion

Americans Are Wary About Body-Enhancement Technologies

Emerging technologies that draw from biomedical technology, nanotechnology, information technology and other fields are developing at a rapid pace and may lead...

Rise of the Ag-Bots Will Not Sow Seeds of ­nemployment
From ACM Opinion

Rise of the Ag-Bots Will Not Sow Seeds of ­nemployment

Larry Stap's fifth-generation family dairy farm has come a long way since his great grandfather established it in Lynden, Wash., in 1910.

How the Computer Beat the Go Player
From ACM Opinion

How the Computer Beat the Go Player

The victory in March of the computer program AlphaGo over one of the world's top handful of go players marks the highest accomplishment to date for the burgeoning...

Machines that Talk to ­S May Soon Sense Our Feelings, Too
From ACM Opinion

Machines that Talk to ­S May Soon Sense Our Feelings, Too

After great promise in the 1960s that machines would soon think like humans, progress stalled for decades. Only in the past 10 years or so has research picked up...

Can Starshot Work?
From ACM Opinion

Can Starshot Work?

A couple of weeks ago the world heard about the most seriously funded (and perhaps the most serious) effort yet for starting us on the pathway to interstellar travel...

Scott Aaronson Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question I Throw at Him
From ACM Opinion

Scott Aaronson Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question I Throw at Him

Quantum-computer whiz riffs on simulated universes, the Singularity, unified theories, P/NP, the mind-body problem, free will, why there's something rather than...

Scott Aaronson Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question I Throw at Him
From ACM Opinion

Scott Aaronson Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question I Throw at Him

Scott Aaronson has one of the highest intelligence/pretension ratios I’ve ever encountered.

Who's Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?
From ACM Opinion

Who's Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

Valentine's Day was a bummer in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, one of Google's self-driving cars, a modified Lexus SUV, caused a crash.

The Internet Archive, Bricks and Mortar Version
From ACM Opinion

The Internet Archive, Bricks and Mortar Version

A heavily rusted cast iron ring sits on a bookshelf inside a neoclassical church a few blocks north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The ring is about an inch...

Why We Love the Games That Enrage ­S Most
From ACM Opinion

Why We Love the Games That Enrage ­S Most

One afternoon last fall a Reddit user with the handle "FranktheShank1" was enjoying a new video game on his PlayStation 4.

The Embarrassing, Destructive Fight Over Biotech's Big Breakthrough
From ACM Opinion

The Embarrassing, Destructive Fight Over Biotech's Big Breakthrough

A defining moment in modern biology occurred on July 24, 1978, when biotechnology pioneer Robert Swanson, who had recently co-founded Genentech, brought two young...

When Will We Be Able to Vote Online?
From ACM Opinion

When Will We Be Able to Vote Online?

Sooner or later everything seems to go online. Newspapers. TV. Radio. Shopping. Banking. Dating.

Psa: Do Not ­se the New Prime Number For Rsa Encryption
From ACM Opinion

Psa: Do Not ­se the New Prime Number For Rsa Encryption

You may have heard that there’s a new largest prime number in town.
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