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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.

August 2018


From ACM Opinion

The Future of Television Is … More Television

The Future of Television Is … More Television

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.


From ACM Opinion

Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not

Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not

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…


From ACM Opinion

What Are Rare Earths, Crucial Elements in Modern Technology? 4 Questions Answered

What Are Rare Earths, Crucial Elements in Modern Technology? 4 Questions Answered

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…


From ACM Opinion

Honoring the '80s, Def Con's Badge Is also a Text Adventure

Honoring the '80s, Def Con's Badge Is also a Text Adventure

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…


From ACM Opinion

Hackers Are Out to Jeopardize Your Vote

Hackers Are Out to Jeopardize Your Vote

Russian hackers targeted US electoral systems during the 2016 presidential election.


From ACM Opinion

To Win the AI Race, We Need More Humans

To Win the AI Race, We Need More Humans

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.


From ACM Opinion

Why AI Researchers Shouldn't Turn Their Backs on the Military

Why AI Researchers Shouldn't Turn Their Backs on the Military

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.


From ACM Opinion

We Are Merging With Robots. That's a Good Thing.

We Are Merging With Robots. That's a Good Thing.

Here are some things that are true today:


From ACM Opinion

Google Tracks You Even If Location History's Off. Here's How to Stop It

Google Tracks You Even If Location History's Off. Here's How to Stop It

If, like most people, you thought Google stopped tracking your location once you turned off Location History in your account settings, you were wrong.


From ACM Opinion

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News

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.


From ACM Opinion

AI for Cybersecurity Is a Hot New Thing, and a Dangerous Gamble

AI for Cybersecurity Is a Hot New Thing, and a Dangerous Gamble

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…


From ACM Opinion

There Will Never Be an Age of Artificial Intimacy

There Will Never Be an Age of Artificial Intimacy

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.


From ACM Opinion

Google's China Plan Isn't Just Evil, It's Bad for Business

Google's China Plan Isn't Just Evil, It's Bad for Business

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 …


From ACM Opinion

What America Must Do to Remain the World's High-Tech Leader

What America Must Do to Remain the World's High-Tech Leader

Artificial intelligence (AI) often is erroneously identified as an emerging technology.


From ACM Opinion

Programmers Need Ethics When Designing the Technologies that Influence People's Lives

Programmers Need Ethics When Designing the Technologies that Influence People's Lives

Computing professionals are on the front lines of almost every aspect of the modern world.


From ACM Opinion

Why Apple Is the Future of Capitalism

Why Apple Is the Future of Capitalism

With Apple Inc. now exceeding $1 trillion in market capitalization, it's tempting to understand this moment in terms of the dominance of all-too-large companies and technology in our lives.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Duplex AI Scares Some People, but I Can't Wait for It to Become a Thing

Google's Duplex AI Scares Some People, but I Can't Wait for It to Become a Thing

"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…


From ACM Opinion

Brains Keep Temporary Molecular Records Before Making a Lasting Memory 

Brains Keep Temporary Molecular Records Before Making a Lasting Memory 

The first dance at my wedding lasted exactly four minutes and 52 seconds, but I'll probably remember it for decades.


From ACM Opinion

3D-Printed (and CNC-Milled) Guns: Nine Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

3D-Printed (and CNC-Milled) Guns: Nine Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

By now, you've probably seen all the news regarding Defense Distributed, company founder Cody Wilson, and 3D-printed guns.


From ACM Opinion

Online Hate Is Rampant. Here's How to Keep It From Spreading

Online Hate Is Rampant. Here's How to Keep It From Spreading

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.


From ACM Opinion

Startup JITX Uses AI to Automate Complex Circuit Board Design

Startup JITX Uses AI to Automate Complex Circuit Board Design

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.


From ACM Opinion

Mars Is Frigid, Rusty and Haunted. We Can’t Stop Looking at It.

Mars Is Frigid, Rusty and Haunted. We Can’t Stop Looking at It.

There it was: Glowering red on the dashboard of the sky like an astrological warning light next to the full Blood Moon Friday. Mars.


From ACM Opinion

China's Numbers Force Google to Recalculate Its Morals

China's Numbers Force Google to Recalculate Its Morals

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.


From ACM Opinion

As Moore's Law Dies, the Chip Giants Seek Fresh Prey

As Moore's Law Dies, the Chip Giants Seek Fresh Prey

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.


From Communications of the ACM

Designing Sustainable Rural Infrastructure Through the Lens of OpenCellular

Designing Sustainable Rural Infrastructure Through the Lens of OpenCellular

Understanding the unique local context, as well as technical considerations, are essential components of successful project deployment.


From Communications of the ACM

Providing Equitable Access to Computing Education

Providing Equitable Access to Computing Education

Seeking the best measures to reach advantaged and less-advantaged students equally.


From Communications of the ACM

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

Cache is king. And if your cache is cut, you are going to feel it.


From Communications of the ACM

Point: Foundations of E-Democracy

Point

Considering the possibility of achieving an e-democracy based on long-established foundations that strengthen both real-world democracies and virtual Internet communities.


From Communications of the ACM

Counterpoint: E-Democracy Won't Save Democracy. Democracy Will Save Democracy

Counterpoint

Increased technology is not the solution to the fundamental issue of declining democratic culture.

Blog at CACM
First-Class Philosophical Failure
First-Class Philosophical Failure
07.30.2018

Interrogation of "first-class object" as an analog to human life goes nowhere.

Moving Computing Education Past Argument from Authority: Stuart Reges and Women Who Code
Moving Computing Education Past Argument from Authority: Stuart Reges and Women Who Code
07.30.2018

Computing educators often make decisions based on arguments from authority. Time to move on.

Blame-Free Quality Control
Blame-Free Quality Control
07.30.2018

How liable should programmers be for the quality of their software?

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