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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 2018


From ACM Opinion

A Plea for AI That Serves Humanity Instead of Replacing It

A Plea for AI That Serves Humanity Instead of Replacing It

Sixty-two years ago this summer, Dartmouth professor John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence. Joi Ito, director of MIT's Media Lab, has come to think it's unhelpful.


From ACM Opinion

How Neal Stephenson Got Book Ideas by Moonlighting at Blue Origin

How Neal Stephenson Got Book Ideas by Moonlighting at Blue Origin

Neal Stephenson's breakout hit, Snow Crash, envisioned a world of virtual reality—in 1992. The Diamond Age foresaw the future of nanotechnology in 1995. The more recent Reamde took the reader on a thriller through social media…


From ACM Opinion

Why Hackers Aren't Afraid of Us

Why Hackers Aren't Afraid of Us

Ask finance ministers and central bankers around the world about their worst nightmare and the answer is almost always the same: Sometime soon the North Koreans or the Russians will improve on the two huge cyberattacks they pulled…


From ACM Opinion

Misinformation and Biases Infect Social Media, Both Intentionally and Accidentally

Misinformation and Biases Infect Social Media, Both Intentionally and Accidentally

Social media are among the primary sources of news in the U.S. and across the world.


From ACM Opinion

Autonomous Vehicles Might Drive Cities to Financial Ruin

Autonomous Vehicles Might Drive Cities to Financial Ruin

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week, 125 mostly white, mostly male, business-card-bearing attendees crowded into a brightly lit ballroom to consider "mobility."


From ACM Opinion

Forget 'Techlash,' The Biggest Problem for Tech Is a Widening Transatlantic Rift

Forget 'Techlash,' The Biggest Problem for Tech Is a Widening Transatlantic Rift

Like a geeky alternative to the ice bucket challenge, the latest global trend to go viral is railing on Big Tech.


From ACM Opinion

Relax, Google, the Robot Army Isn't Here Yet 

Relax, Google, the Robot Army Isn't Here Yet 

People can differ on their perceptions of "evil."


From ACM Opinion

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict

The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign…


From ACM Opinion

The Erosion of Reality

The Erosion of Reality

Let me say this upfront: I'm not convinced that 'superintelligent' AI are the most pressing threat from coming generations of deep learning machines.


From ACM Opinion

The Inside Story of How AI Got Good Enough to Dominate Silicon Valley

The Inside Story of How AI Got Good Enough to Dominate Silicon Valley

Alex Krizhevsky didn't get into the AI business to change the course of history.


From ACM Opinion

Going To the World Cup? Leave the Laptop at Home

Going To the World Cup? Leave the Laptop at Home

A Russian sports official earlier this year estimated that as many as 2 million people would flock to the country during the World Cup, the month-long celebration of soccer—or football, fine—that kicks off today in Moscow.


From ACM Opinion

Self-Driving Cars Likely Won't Steal Your Job (Until 2040)

Self-Driving Cars Likely Won't Steal Your Job (Until 2040)

The self-driving robots are coming to transform your job. Kind of. Also, very slowly.


From ACM Opinion

Teleportation: Will It Ever Be a Possibility?

Teleportation: Will It Ever Be a Possibility?

Star Trek has a lot to answer for.


From ACM Opinion

Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?

Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?

The reason you've been receiving a steady stream of privacy-policy updates from online services, some of which you may have forgotten you ever subscribed to, is that the European Union just enacted the General Data Protection…


From ACM Opinion

Connected Cars Can Lie, Posing a New Threat to Smart Cities

Connected Cars Can Lie, Posing a New Threat to Smart Cities

The day when cars can talk to each other—and to traffic lights, stop signs, guardrails and even pavement markings—is rapidly approaching.


From ACM Opinion

To Build the Best Bots, NASA Happily Looks to Others Here on Earth

To Build the Best Bots, NASA Happily Looks to Others Here on Earth


From ACM Opinion

Costs of Snowden Leak Still Mounting 5 Years Later

Costs of Snowden Leak Still Mounting 5 Years Later

Whistleblower or traitor, leaker or public hero?


From ACM Opinion

Jurassic World: Can We Really Resurrect a Dinosaur?

Jurassic World: Can We Really Resurrect a Dinosaur?

This summer, the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise will be on the big screen, reinforcing a love of dinosaurs that has been with many of us since childhood.


From ACM Opinion

The Many Shades of Bad Physics

The Many Shades of Bad Physics

What happens when you see bad physics in the world? Does it make you angry? Does it make you laugh?


From ACM Opinion

How We're Using Darwin's Theory of Evolution to Build Robots that Can Adapt and Learn on Their Own

How We're Using Darwin's Theory of Evolution to Build Robots that Can Adapt and Learn on Their Own

The uptake of robotics technology is increasing at a startling rate.


From ACM Careers

Our Concerns About the Arrest of Abbas Edalat in Iran

Our Concerns About the Arrest of Abbas Edalat in Iran

129 experts in computer science, mathematics, and machine learning call for the release of their colleague, the Imperial College London professor who was arrested in April in Tehran.


From ACM Opinion

We Know You Hate the Internet of Things, but It's Saving Megafauna from Poachers

We Know You Hate the Internet of Things, but It's Saving Megafauna from Poachers

For much of this decade, organizations seeking to protect wildlife have attempted to use emerging technology as a conservation tool, allowing small numbers of people to monitor and manage data from animals over a wide area.


From ACM Opinion

The Importance of Teaching Robots to Hug

The Importance of Teaching Robots to Hug

Hugs make us feel warm and safe and comforted and loved.


From ACM Opinion

The Researchers Who Study Alien Linguistics

The Researchers Who Study Alien Linguistics

Sheri Wells-Jensen is fascinated by languages no one has ever heard—those that might be spoken by aliens.


From ACM Opinion

Trump's Lack of Cyber Leader May Make U.S. Vulnerable

Trump's Lack of Cyber Leader May Make U.S. Vulnerable

The absence of senior cybersecurity leaders in President Donald Trump's administration may be leaving the United States more vulnerable to digital warfare and less prepared for attacks on election systems, according to lawmakers…


From ACM Opinion

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Screen Time Controls, Working with China

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Screen Time Controls, Working with China

Tim Cook, who has led Apple since 2011, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep in a wide-ranging interview on Monday as the company kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.


From ACM Opinion

The Responsibility of Immortality: Welcome to the New Transhumanism

The Responsibility of Immortality: Welcome to the New Transhumanism

In the summer of 1990, I was running a pretty weird nightclub in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo.


From ACM Opinion

What Is Consciousness?

What Is Consciousness?

Consciousness is everything you experience.


From Communications of the ACM

Effectiveness of Anonymization in Double-Blind Review

Effectiveness of Anonymization in Double-Blind Review

Assessing the effectiveness of anonymization in the review process.


From Communications of the ACM

An Interview with Dave Parnas

An Interview with Dave Parnas

A discussion of ideas about software engineering.

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