The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
In 1955, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published a short story about an experiment in "electronic democracy," in which a single citizen, selected to represent an entire population, responded to questions generated by a …
On Sunday, August 12, NASA launched a bold mission to fly directly into the sun's atmosphere, with a spacecraft named the Parker Solar Probe, after solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker.
Every ten years, US astronomers set research priorities for the following decade.
Call it Jeffrey Katzenberg's unicorn newborn. An operating company has come into being, ex nihilo, with the blandest of names—NewTV—and a valuation north of $1 billion.
With the U.S. heading into a pivotal midterm election, little progress has been made on ensuring the integrity of voting systems—a concern that retook the spotlight when the 2016 presidential election ushered Donald Trump into…
Most Americans use rare earth elements every day—without knowing it, or knowing anything about what they do. That could change, as these unusual materials are becoming a focal point in the escalating trade war between the U.S…
Nearly 30,000 people came to Las Vegas last week for the 26th edition of DEF CON, the iconic security conference. And no small amount of the mental energy of that vast crowd was spent on one particular thing: the conference badge…
Russian hackers targeted US electoral systems during the 2016 presidential election.
The United States is trying to develop a national strategy on artificial intelligence (AI) but is ignoring its single greatest advantage: many of the world's brightest minds would like to live and work here but can't.
More than 2,400 AI researchers recently signed a pledge promising not to build so-called autonomous weapons—systems that would decide on their own whom to kill.
Here are some things that are true today:
If, like most people, you thought Google stopped tracking your location once you turned off Location History in your account settings, you were wrong.
Sitting in front of a computer not long ago, a tenured history professor faced a challenge that billions of us do every day: deciding whether to believe something on the Internet.
When I walked around the exhibition floor at this week's massive Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, I was struck by the number of companies boasting about how they are using machine learning and artificial intelligence…
Years ago I spoke with a 16-year-old girl who was considering the idea of having a computer companion in the future, and she described the upside to me.
Google is proposing a new Faustian bargain with the Chinese government that isn't just morally wrong; it's also terrible for business. Experience has shown that American tech companies that sell their souls for access to the …
Artificial intelligence (AI) often is erroneously identified as an emerging technology.
Computing professionals are on the front lines of almost every aspect of the modern world.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C. Clarke famously wrote. That line must have zoomed through 5,000 audience brains when, at Google's developer conference in May, CEO Sundar Pichai…
The first dance at my wedding lasted exactly four minutes and 52 seconds, but I'll probably remember it for decades.
By now, you've probably seen all the news regarding Defense Distributed, company founder Cody Wilson, and 3D-printed guns.
Back in the last presidential campaign season, reporters on the tech and politics beats began noticing a rise in far-right memes that supported Trump. Memes being memes, these seemed initially like weird, off-color jokes.
While anyone can learn how to design a circuit board, it takes a skilled engineer to design a circuit board that is both well optimized and unlikely to melt, explode, or cause whatever it's controlling to melt or explode.
There it was: Glowering red on the dashboard of the sky like an astrological warning light next to the full Blood Moon Friday. Mars.
In 2010, Google made a moral calculus. The company had been censoring search results in China at the behest of the Communist government since launching there in 2006.
After a five-year, $240 billion acquisition spree, there's a suspicion that the nature of deal-making in the semiconductor industry may be starting to change.
Understanding the unique local context, as well as technical considerations, are essential components of successful project deployment.
Seeking the best measures to reach advantaged and less-advantaged students equally.
Cache is king. And if your cache is cut, you are going to feel it.
Questions of verification, safety, and trust must be central when we embody intelligence in physical systems.
Interrogation of "first-class object" as an analog to human life goes nowhere.
Computing educators often make decisions based on arguments from authority. Time to move on.
Facebook has made a mint by enabling advertisers to identify …
The research conducted at the country's National Laboratories is usually …
A team of researchers has simplified the manufacturing process enabling …