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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.

September 2017


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Ad Scandal Isn't a 'Fail,' It's a Feature

Facebook's Ad Scandal Isn't a 'Fail,' It's a Feature

What does it take to advertise on Facebook to people who openly call themselves "Jew haters" and want to know "how to burn Jews"? About $10 and 15 minutes, according to what the investigative nonprofit ProPublica recently uncovered…


From ACM Opinion

I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It

I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It

This month, two magnificently embarrassing public-relations disasters rocked the Facebook money machine like nothing else in its history.


From ACM Opinion

Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn't Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job

Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn't Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job

Longtime futurist Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, provides his take on the artificial intelligence debate and what the future holds for us all.


From ACM News

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots

We cover all kinds of modular robotics around here, and when we do, we're almost always talking about one overall robotic system made up of many different modules, some number of which can be individually controlled or swapped…


From ACM Careers

Remembering Lotfi Zadeh, the Inventor of Fuzzy Logic

Remembering Lotfi Zadeh, the Inventor of Fuzzy Logic

One night in July, 1964, the logician Lotfi Zadeh found himself alone in his parents' New York apartment, his dinner plans cancelled.


From ACM Opinion

Is There Any Hope for Facebook's Fact-Checking Efforts?

Is There Any Hope for Facebook's Fact-Checking Efforts?

Facebook's fact-checking efforts are on the rocks.


From ACM Opinion

Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

The warnings consumers hear from information security pros tend to focus on trust: Don't click web links or attachments from an untrusted sender.


From ACM Opinion

Cassini Vanishes Into Saturn, Its Mission Celebrated and Mourned

Cassini Vanishes Into Saturn, Its Mission Celebrated and Mourned

NASA&'s Cassini spacecraft, the intrepid robotic explorer of Saturn's magnificent beauty, ended a journey of 20 years on Friday like a shooting star streaking across Saturn's sky.


From ACM Opinion

Why It's a Real Mistake to Count on a Cellphone When You Go Hiking

Why It's a Real Mistake to Count on a Cellphone When You Go Hiking

Sarah Savage was alone in the woods and didn't know which way to turn.


From ACM Opinion

The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed

The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed

He influenced Jobs and dreamed up a digital future designed for learning and thinking. Fifty years on, Alan Kay is still waiting for his dream to come true.


From ACM Opinion

Apple's FaceID Could Be a Powerful Tool for Mass Spying

Apple's FaceID Could Be a Powerful Tool for Mass Spying

This Tuesday Apple unveiled a new line of phones to much fanfare, but one feature immediately fell under scrutiny:FaceID, a tool that would use facial recognition to identify individuals and unlock their phones.


From ACM Opinion

You Are Already Living Inside a Computer

You Are Already Living Inside a Computer

Suddenly, everything is a computer. Phones, of course, and televisions. Also toasters and door locks, baby monitors and juicers, doorbells and gas grills. Even faucets. Even garden hoses. Even fidget spinners.


From ACM Opinion

Q&A: The AI Composer

Q&A: The AI Composer

Computer scientist Luc Steels uses artificial intelligence to explore the origins and evolution of language.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke

Creating noodling piano tunes and endless configurations of cat drawings with AI may not sound like an obvious project for Google, but it makes a lot of sense to Douglas Eck.


From ACM Opinion

Why the iPhone X's Face ID Is a Terrible Way to Secure Your Data

Why the iPhone X's Face ID Is a Terrible Way to Secure Your Data

The new iPhone X puts face recognition front and centre. Why? Because it is the quickest and easiest way to unlock your phone.


From ACM Opinion

What We Know about the Climate Change-Hurricane Connection

What We Know about the Climate Change-Hurricane Connection

With Texas just beginning to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the Southeastern U.S. preparing for Hurricane Irma's iminent arrival, people are naturally asking the question: What role might human-caused…


From ACM Opinion

The Only Safe Email Is Text-Only Email

The Only Safe Email Is Text-Only Email

It's troubling to think that at any moment you might open an email that looks like it comes from your employer, a relative or your bank, only to fall for a phishing scam.


From ACM Opinion

These Are Not the Robots We Were Promised

These Are Not the Robots We Were Promised

From the moment we humans first imagined having mechanical servants at our beck and call, we've assumed they would be constructed in our own image.


From ACM Opinion

How Facebook Changed the Spy Game

How Facebook Changed the Spy Game

Any doubt that Russia has been running a strategically targeted disinformation campaign in the United States was erased on Wednesday, when Facebook revealed that it had deleted 470 "inauthentic" accounts that were based in Russia…


From ACM Opinion

iRobot CEO Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

iRobot CEO Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

About a month ago, iRobot CEO Colin Angle mentioned something about sharing Roomba mapping data in an interview with Reuters.


From ACM Opinion

Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

People get up to weird things in New Zealand.


From ACM Opinion

How to Close the Gender Gap in Tech

How to Close the Gender Gap in Tech

Why do so few women work in tech? It isn't that they can't do math or are biologically unsuited to the tasks.


From ACM Opinion

Tech's Uphill Political Battle to Save the DACA Dreamers

Tech's Uphill Political Battle to Save the DACA Dreamers

The U.S. tech industry is leading the charge to pressure Congress to pass a bill to protect so-called "Dreamers" from deportation. Experts say the fight is an uphill battle.


From ACM Opinion

The Fake-News Fallacy

The Fake-News Fallacy

On the evening of October 30, 1938, a seventy-six-year-old millworker in Grover's Mill, New Jersey, named Bill Dock heard something terrifying on the radio.


From ACM Opinion

The Darkening Web: Misinformation Is the Strongest Cyberweapon

The Darkening Web: Misinformation Is the Strongest Cyberweapon

In late June, I was leaving for a flight from Kiev's Boryspil Airport as news broke that Ukraine was the victim of another massive cyberattack.


From ACM Opinion

How We Killed Expertise

How We Killed Expertise

Average Americans have never much liked eggheads.


From ACM Opinion

Stop Cyberattacks. Just Add Robots

Stop Cyberattacks. Just Add Robots

"Are you a hacker?"


From ACM Opinion

What James Damore Got Wrong About Gender Bias in Computer Science

What James Damore Got Wrong About Gender Bias in Computer Science

In August Google employee James Damore made the news and even Wikipedia by publishing his speculation that female software engineers are underrepresented due to inherent biological differences.


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence: The Future Is Superintelligent

Artificial Intelligence: The Future Is Superintelligent

Max Tegmark is a renowned physicist. He is also the irrepressibly optimistic co-founder of the Future of Life Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts (motto: "Technology is giving life the potential to flourish like never before…


From Communications of the ACM

When Does Law Enforcement's Demand to Read Your Data Become a Demand to Read Your Mind?

When Does Law Enforcement's Demand to Read Your Data Become a Demand to Read Your Mind?

On cryptographic backdoors and prosthetic intelligence.

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Blog at CACM
Finding the World's Smallest Mechanical Parallel Calculator
Finding the World's Smallest Mechanical Parallel Calculator
09.12.2017

Discovery of a 12-fold Curta in Britain.

It's Not the 'Why' Chromosome, It's the 'How'
It's Not the 'Why' Chromosome, It's the 'How'
09.11.2017

Women do like the raw technical aspects of computer science.

Measuring Student Self-efficacy and Learning Trajectories for K-5 CS: ICER 2017 Trip Report
Measuring Student Self-efficacy and Learning Trajectories for K-5 CS: ICER 2017 Trip Report
08.27.2017

ICER 2017 features a new test of student belief and new theory about K-5 CS learning.

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