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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

January 2019


From ACM Opinion

Cinematic and Scientific Techniques Combine to Show How a Long-Extinct Creature Moved

Cinematic and Scientific Techniques Combine to Show How a Long-Extinct Creature Moved

The trolls and orcs in The Lord of the Rings films aren't real. The dragons and dire wolves on the hit television show Game of Thrones are simulated. The dinosaurs that rampaged through a string of Jurassic Park films don't exist…


From ACM Opinion

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

Have Aliens Found Us? 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 and extremely elongated asteroid."


From ACM Opinion

Offices Are Too Hot or Too Cold; Is There a Better Way to Control Room Temperature?

Offices Are Too Hot or Too Cold; Is There a Better Way to Control Room Temperature?

In any office, home or other shared space, there's almost always someone who's too cold, someone who's too hot—and someone who doesn't know what the fuss around the thermostat is all about.


From ACM Opinion

Five Emerging Cyber-Threats to Worry About in 2019

Five Emerging Cyber-Threats to Worry About in 2019

Last year was full of cybersecurity disasters, from the revelation of security flaws in billions of microchips to massive data breaches and attacks using malicious software that locks down computer systems until a ransom is paid…


From ACM Opinion

What the Future of Work Means for Cities

What the Future of Work Means for Cities

Two weeks ago, MIT's David Autor gave the prestigious Richard T. Ely lecture at the annual meeting of American economists in Atlanta. Introduced by the former chair of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke as a "first-class thinker"…


From ACM Opinion

Happy 18th Birthday, Wikipedia. Let's Celebrate the Internet's Good Grown-Up.

Happy 18th Birthday, Wikipedia. Let's Celebrate the Internet's Good Grown-Up.

On Tuesday, Wikipedia celebrates its 18th birthday. If the massive crowdsourced encyclopedia project were human, then in most countries, it would just now be considered a legal adult. But in truth, the free online encyclopedia…


From ACM Opinion

The Quiet Threat Inside 'Internet of Things' Devices

The Quiet Threat Inside 'Internet of Things' Devices

As Americans increasingly buy and install smart devices in their homes, all those cheap interconnected devices create new security problems for individuals and society as a whole.


From ACM Opinion

Tiny Computers Could Transform Our Lives

Tiny Computers Could Transform Our Lives

Remember Innerspace, the comedy sci-fi movie from the '80s about a microscopic manned pod injected into a human?


From ACM Opinion

To Cover China, There's No Substitute for WeChat

To Cover China, There's No Substitute for WeChat

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Li Yuan, a technology columnist in Hong Kong, discussed the tech she's using.


From ACM Opinion

When Chinese Hackers Declared War on the Rest of Us

When Chinese Hackers Declared War on the Rest of Us

Late one Wednesday in March 2015, an alarm sounded in the offices of GitHub, a San Francisco-based software firm. The company's offices exemplified the kind of Scandinavia-meets-soullessness style that has spread out from Silicon…


From ACM Opinion

Etch a Sketch Lives On in Browser-Based Chrome Labs Project

Etch a Sketch Lives On in Browser-Based Chrome Labs Project

Everyone who remembers the Etch A Sketch slabs of yesteryear remembers how difficult it was to translate your vision onto its "magic screen," and how proud you felt upon success. Now, Google's Chrome Labs has translated thatWeb…


From ACM Opinion

Dreaming of Death Rays: The Search for Laser Weapons

Dreaming of Death Rays: The Search for Laser Weapons

Lasers first emerged nearly 60 years ago, but the idea of using powerful beams of heat or light is hardly new.


From ACM News

Countering Russian Disinformation the Baltic Nations' Way

Countering Russian Disinformation the Baltic Nations' Way

As the new Congress begins, it will soon discuss the comprehensive reports to the U.S. Senate on the disinformation campaign of half-truths, outright fabrications and misleading posts made by agents of the Russian government …


From ACM Opinion

Tech Giants, Gorging on AI Professors Is Bad for You

Tech Giants, Gorging on AI Professors Is Bad for You

In an essay written in 1833, the British economist William Forster Lloyd made a profound observation using the example of cattle grazing.


From ACM Opinion

Never Mind Killer Robots; Here Are Six Real AI Dangers to Watch Out for in 2019

Never Mind Killer Robots; Here Are Six Real AI Dangers to Watch Out for in 2019

Once it was fashionable to fret about the prospect of super-intelligent machines taking over the world. The past year showed that AI may cause all sorts of hazards long before that happens.


From ACM Opinion

A Reason to Despair About the Digital Future: Deepfakes

A Reason to Despair About the Digital Future: Deepfakes

A despairing prediction for the digital future came from an unlikely source recently. Speaking of "deepfakes," or media manipulated through artificial intelligence, the actress Scarlett Johansson told The Post that "the Internet…


From ACM Opinion

The 'Godfather of Deep Learning' on Why We Need to Ensure AI Doesn't Just Benefit the Rich

The 'Godfather of Deep Learning' on Why We Need to Ensure AI Doesn't Just Benefit the Rich

Geoffrey Hinton, a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto, is considered by many to be the 'godfather of deep learning,' due to his pioneering work in artificial neural networks.


From ACM Opinion

In Memory of Lawrence Roberts

In Memory of Lawrence Roberts

Beeeeeeep.


From ACM Opinion

What's Behind China's Space Programme Expansion

What's Behind China's Space Programme Expansion

China is a relative late-bloomer when it comes to the world of space exploration. But just 15 years after it first sent an astronaut into orbit, China has become the first country to successfully land a robotic spacecraft on …


From ACM Opinion

Tor Is Easier Than Ever. Time to Give It a Try

Tor Is Easier Than Ever. Time to Give It a Try

You probably know about the digital anonymity service Tor, but for whatever reason you may not actually use it.


From ACM Opinion

China vs. the US: Who Wins and Who Loses

China vs. the US: Who Wins and Who Loses

Born in Beijing and educated at Harvard, Yasheng Huang, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, is a keen observer of China's entrepreneurial efforts and the role the government has played in the country's remarkable…


From Communications of the ACM

Illegal Pricing Algorithms

Illegal Pricing Algorithms

Examining the potential legal consequences of using pricing algorithms.


From Communications of the ACM

CRISPR: An Emerging Platform for Gene Editing

CRISPR

Considering a potential platform candidate in the evolving realm of gene-editing technologies research.


From Communications of the ACM

Hey Google, What's a Moonshot?: How Silicon Valley Mocks Apollo

Hey Google, What's a Moonshot?

Fifty years on, NASA's expensive triumph is a widely misunderstood model for spectacular innovation.


From Communications of the ACM

Modeling in Engineering and Science

Modeling in Engineering and Science

Understanding behavior by building models.


From Communications of the ACM

UCF's 30-Year REU Site in Computer Vision

UCF's 30-Year REU Site in Computer Vision

A unique perspective on experiences encouraging students to focus on further education.

Blog at CACM
More Replicas of Historical Calculating Machines Found
More Replicas of Historical Calculating Machines Found
01.11.2019

Documenting the discovery of several previously unknown replicas of historical computing devices made by Roberto A. Guatelli.

The Ethical Responsibilities of the Student or End-User Programmer
The Ethical Responsibilities of the Student or End-User Programmer
01.06.2019

If a student's program goes awry, who is responsible? How do we protect society and encourage people to learn about …

Computer Science Relies on the Opposite of Godel's Results
Computer Science Relies on the Opposite of Godel's Results
12.26.2018

The first-order theories of Gödel's results necessarily leave mathematical objects ill-defined.

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