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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.

April 2013


From ACM Opinion

Bitcoin: Whatever It Is, It's Not Money!

Bitcoin: Whatever It Is, It's Not Money!

When governments undermine faith in their currencies people turn to alternatives.


From ACM Opinion

Interview with Brain Project Pioneer: Miyoung Chun

Interview with Brain Project Pioneer: Miyoung Chun

Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) project, which President Obama announced in his State of the Union address in February, will be a decade-long effort to understand the nature of thought (See…


From ACM Opinion

Will Google's Ray Kurzweil Live Forever?

Will Google's Ray Kurzweil Live Forever?

Ray Kurzweil must encounter his share of interviewers whose first question is: What do you hope your obituary will say?


From ACM Opinion

Google Chief Urges Action to Regulate Mini-Drones

Google Chief Urges Action to Regulate Mini-Drones

The influential head of Google, Eric Schmidt, has called for civilian drone technology to be regulated, warning about privacy and security concerns.


From ACM Opinion

Name-Brand Genes: Is Our Genetic Makeup What's Next in Personal Branding?

Name-Brand Genes: Is Our Genetic Makeup What's Next in Personal Branding?

The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that could decide whether it's possible to patent specific human genes that have been "snipped" out of our DNA and isolated in the laboratory.


From ACM Opinion

Proceed with Caution Toward the Self-Driving Car

Proceed with Caution Toward the Self-Driving Car

Driving on Interstate 495 toward Boston in a Ford Fusion one chilly afternoon in March, I did something that would've made even my laid-back long-ago driving instructor spit his coffee over the dashboard: I took my hands off…


From ACM Opinion

Human Genome, Then and Now

Human Genome, Then and Now

Eight years of work, thousands of researchers around the world, $1 billion spent—and finally it was done.


From ACM Opinion

The End of Stanford?

The End of Stanford?

Is Stanford still a university?


From ACM Opinion

A Talk With Computer Graphics Pioneer Ivan Sutherland

A Talk With Computer Graphics Pioneer Ivan Sutherland

Dr. Ivan Sutherland is the 2012 winner of the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology. The award, created by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder of not one but two major Japanese companies—Kyocera and KDDI—is a Nobel-like honor given to individuals…


From ACM Opinion

Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World

Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World

Type an address into your phone, and up will pop a step-by-step route from where you are to where you want to be. This is, in its way, magic—magic that has, at this point, been rubbed and polished into a simple fact of life.


From ACM Opinion

Should We Fall Out of Love with Robot Surgery?

Should We Fall Out of Love with Robot Surgery?

Last fall, shoppers outside a Macy's store in Boston were given a chance to test drive a robot. They were invited, compliments of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to sit at a console and move the machine's arm the same way surgeons…


From ACM Opinion

More Cracks Undermine the Citadel of Tv Profits

More Cracks Undermine the Citadel of Tv Profits

For the longest time in the media business, the concept of the bundle has been foundational.


From ACM Opinion

How Technology Is Slowly Developing Its Sense of Smell

How Technology Is Slowly Developing Its Sense of Smell

Last week I attended what was, I think it is fair to say, the oddest conference I have been to yet. It was the first world congress of the Digital Olfaction Society (tagline: "The Smell of Digital"), the stated goal of which…


From ACM News

Q&a: Hacker Culture, Coding, and Free Speech

Q&a: Hacker Culture, Coding, and Free Speech

Anthropologist E. Gabriella Coleman, author of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, is fascinated by hacker culture, and with its notion that software should be free and treated as free speech.


From ACM Opinion

Immigration and the Knowledge Economy

Immigration and the Knowledge Economy

Earlier this year I started teaching a class on entrepreneurship at an after-school program in my community.


From ACM Opinion

Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency

Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency

Bitcoin might be a bubble or it might be THE FUTURE, but there's one thing it's not: a currency. It's a tech stock. The question is whether it's Pets.com or Paypal.


From ACM Opinion

The Coming Golden Age For Mobile-Game Developers

The Coming Golden Age For Mobile-Game Developers

Do you like video games? More to the point, do you like developing games and making money? Then here's some great news: The gaming boom that's been underway for the past few years is still picking up steam.


From ACM Opinion

Will Bitcoins Make Me Rich?

Will Bitcoins Make Me Rich?

Let me begin this column with a lengthy disclosure. One morning last week, I stopped at my bank, filled out a withdrawal slip for $1,027.51, and walked away with an envelope full of cash.


From ACM Opinion

If You Hate Red-Light Cameras, You'll Really Hate Speeding Ticket Robots

If You Hate Red-Light Cameras, You'll Really Hate Speeding Ticket Robots

Four academics from West Point and Samford University in Alabama set out to answer a seemingly simple question: how would one write a computer program to issue speeding tickets?


From ACM Opinion

Intel Cooks Up Future of TV—A Potential Mess for Cable

Intel Cooks Up Future of TV—A Potential Mess for Cable

Visualize the TV service you've always wanted: a gorgeous interface that does away with clunky (and often ad-strewn) programming grids; a simple remote that isn't a crushing array of buttons; a cloud-based DVR that doesn't require…


From ACM Opinion

One App’s Ios Debacle Shows Dangers of Betting It All on Apple

One App’s Ios Debacle Shows Dangers of Betting It All on Apple

Apple has removed the popular AppGratis app from its app store. This strikes me as a really sad tale of what can happen when you place all your apps in one app store's basket, so to speak.


From ACM Opinion

Why Retina Displays and 4k Tvs May Not Be Worth the Trouble

Why Retina Displays and 4k Tvs May Not Be Worth the Trouble

When Apple unveiled its Retina screen on the iPhone 4, the world gasped.


From ACM Opinion

Cyber Education Key to Security

Cyber Education Key to Security

Today, cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives.


From ACM Opinion

The Creator

The Creator

When Markus Persson visited Las Vegas in 2011, for the first international convention held in honor of Minecraft, the video game he designed and built, a young mother strode up and asked him not to kiss her baby but to sign it…


From ACM Opinion

17 of Apple's Favorite Apps

17 of Apple's Favorite Apps

Steve Jobs was a stickler for detail, requiring final approval on everything from ads to wording on his Keynote presentations. It's no surprise then that the company he built places similar attention to detail when choosing apps…


From ACM Opinion

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Home, Money, and the Future of Communication

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Home, Money, and the Future of Communication

As caretaker of a service with a billion users, Mark Zuckerberg is used to sparking protest.


From ACM Opinion

Why Obama's Brain-Mapping Project Matters

Last week, President Obama officially announced $100 million in funding for arguably the most ambitious neuroscience initiative ever proposed.


From ACM Opinion

Twitter, Hate Speech, and the Costs of Keeping Quiet

Twitter, Hate Speech, and the Costs of Keeping Quiet

Last month was a bittersweet seventh birthday for Twitter.


From ACM Opinion

Mark Pincus Thinks Angry Birds Won't Hurt Your Kids

Mark Pincus Thinks Angry Birds Won't Hurt Your Kids

You are the founder and C.E.O. of Zynga, a company responsible for addictive games like FarmVille and the forthcoming Draw Something 2. You know, every time I see my 4-year-old son playing Angry Birds on my phone, I imagine that…


From ACM Opinion

Five Years And Nothing To Show: How Doom 4 Got Off Track

Five Years And Nothing To Show: How Doom 4 Got Off Track

Doom 4 is in trouble, and has been for quite some time now, according to multiple sources.

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