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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 2014


From ACM Opinion

China's Anti-Windows 8 Tirade

China's Anti-Windows 8 Tirade

China's ambivalence about American technology has long been clear, but recently the nation kicked off a fresh, trash-talking effort targeting Windows 8, suggesting it is a threat to its national security.


From ACM Opinion

The Turing Test Is Not What You Think It Is

The Turing Test Is Not What You Think It Is

Whether or not you caught wind of the excited announcement that "Eugene Goostman," a computer program ("chatbot") devised by Vladimir Veselov, Eugene Demchenko, and Sergey Ulasen, had passed the Turing Test this past week, there's…


From ACM Opinion

Why Electric Car Maker Tesla Has Torn Up Its Patents

Why Electric Car Maker Tesla Has Torn Up Its Patents

Why is Tesla opening up its patents to competitors? Because rival electric car makers are not the enemy — petrol stations are.


From ACM Opinion

The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (again)

The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (again)

I've been preoccupied lately with thoughts of marauding broomsticks, genies in bottles, and monkey's paws.


From ACM Opinion

Why Online Tracking Is Getting Creepier

Why Online Tracking Is Getting Creepier

The marketers that follow you around the web are getting nosier.


From ACM Opinion

The Nightmare on Connected Home Street

The Nightmare on Connected Home Street

I wake up at four to some old-timey dubstep spewing from my pillows.


From ACM Opinion

Microsoft's Quantum Search For the 'next Transistor'

Microsoft's Quantum Search For the 'next Transistor'

Microsoft is making a significant investment in creating a practical version of the basic component needed to build a quantum computer, the company's head of research said Monday.


From ACM Opinion

Vermeer's Paintings Might Be 350-Year-Old Color Photographs

Vermeer's Paintings Might Be 350-Year-Old Color Photographs

I was sitting in the bathtub in 2008 when I thought of a simple way Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) might have painted his photorealistic pictures 350 years ago, long before the invention of photography.


From ACM Opinion

Time Travel: Installing an Atomic Clock at 15,000 Feet

Time Travel: Installing an Atomic Clock at 15,000 Feet

A few months ago I went to Cambridge, Mass. to check in with the Event Horizon Telescope crew and found Shep Doeleman, the project leader, fresh off the completion of a major purchase.


From ACM Opinion

How to Use Tech Like a Teenager

How to Use Tech Like a Teenager

Enough with complaining that young people these days are addicted to their phones. The question you should be asking is: What do they know that you don't?


From ACM Opinion

Big Tech Walking Fine Line on Data

Big Tech Walking Fine Line on Data

A year after Edward Snowden shocked citizens with details of how much of their lives are being snapped up by the National Security Agency, tech giants have sounded alarms about the government’s practices—but maintained near radio…


From ACM Opinion

What Comes After the Turing Test?

What Comes After the Turing Test?

Over the weekend, the news broke that a "supercomputer" program called "Eugene Goostman"—an impersonation of a wisecracking, thirteen-year-old Ukranian boy—had become the first machine to pass the Turing Test.


From ACM Opinion

So Far, Big Data Is Small Potatoes

So Far, Big Data Is Small Potatoes

Is Big Data going to revolutionize science and help us make a better world? Not based on what it's done so far.


From ACM Opinion

Why Haven't We Encountered Aliens Yet? The Answer Could Be Climate Change

Why Haven't We Encountered Aliens Yet? The Answer Could Be Climate Change

Enrico Fermi, when asked about intelligent life on other planets, famously replied, "Where are they?"


From ACM Opinion

That Computer Actually Got an F on the Turing Test

That Computer Actually Got an F on the Turing Test

Over the weekend, a group of programmers claimed they built a program that passed the famous Turing Test, in which a computer tries to trick judges into believing that it is a human.


From ACM Opinion

Do We Really Need to Learn to Code?

Do We Really Need to Learn to Code?

"Learn to Code!" This imperative to program seems to be everywhere these days. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg recently donated ten million dollars to Code.org, a non-profit that believes that "every student in every school should…


From ACM TechNews

Q&a: What Separates Women From Men in Tech Careers

Q&a: What Separates Women From Men in Tech Careers

HP Cloud Services vice president of product marketing and cloud evangelist Margaret Dawson discusses the technology gender divide.


From ACM Opinion

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: U.s. Drone Program Under Obama 'got Out of Hand'

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: U.s. Drone Program Under Obama 'got Out of Hand'

Richard Clarke served as the nation's top counterterrorism official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before resigning in 2003 in protest of the Iraq War.


From ACM Opinion

World Cup Kickoff Looms For Demo of Brain-Controlled Machine

World Cup Kickoff Looms For Demo of Brain-Controlled Machine

During the World Cup next week, there may be 1 minute during the opening ceremony when the boisterous stadium crowd in São Paulo falls silent: when a paraplegic young person wearing a brain-controlled, robotic exoskeleton attempts…


From ACM Opinion

Five Reasons Why China Is Attacking U.s. Tech

Five Reasons Why China Is Attacking U.s. Tech

China's blistering attacks on U.S. tech firms is more than quid pro quo over cyberspying charges. It's a signal of China's growing confidence in its own technology capabilities. China is picking and choosing its targets carefully…


From ACM Opinion

Tetris at 30: An Interview with the Historic Puzzle Game's Creator

Tetris at 30: An Interview with the Historic Puzzle Game's Creator

Thirty years ago today, a little game about dropping geometrically strange thingamajigs — originally clusters of punctuation marks—into neat, lookalike rows kicked off on a wild journey that led it (and its Russian creator, Alexey…


From ACM Careers

Computer Programming Is a Dying Art

Computer Programming Is a Dying Art

Writing code is a terrible way for humans to instruct computers.


From ACM Opinion

A Fast Look at Swift, Apple's New Programming Language

A Fast Look at Swift, Apple's New Programming Language

If anyone outside Apple saw Swift coming, they certainly weren't making any public predictions.


From ACM Opinion

Robots: Can We Trust Them with Our Privacy?

Robots: Can We Trust Them with Our Privacy?

Joss Wright is training a robot to freak people out.


From ACM Opinion

Quantum Teleportation Is Just the Latest Mind-Blowing Innovation Made Possible By Breakthroughs in Subatomic Physics

Quantum Teleportation Is Just the Latest Mind-Blowing Innovation Made Possible By Breakthroughs in Subatomic Physics

Researchers in the Netherlands have just demonstrated that the quantum teleportation of information is now possible.


From ACM Opinion

Imposing Security

Imposing Security

Three computer bugs this year exposed passwords, e-mails, financial data, and other kinds of sensitive information connected to potentially billions of people.


From ACM Opinion

Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the United States was charging members of the Chinese military with economic espionage.


From ACM Opinion

How the Nsa Could Bug Your Powered-Off Phone, and How to Stop Them

How the Nsa Could Bug Your Powered-Off Phone, and How to Stop Them

Just because you turned off your phone doesn't mean the NSA isn't using it to spy on you.


From ACM Opinion

How to Make Robots Seem Less Creepy

How to Make Robots Seem Less Creepy

Robots may be poised to enter a new frontier in the workplace—but that doesn't mean the public is ready for it.


From ACM Opinion

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is teaching computers how to read better—one more step in the march of technological progress.

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