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

October 2013


From ACM Opinion

Orson Scott Card Talks Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card Talks Ender's Game

In Ender's Game, the Nebula Award-winning 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, a 6-year-old boy is taken from his family on Earth to an orbital military academy to be molded into a soldier for a looming extraterrestrial war.


From ACM Opinion

Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence

Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence

If the New York Times's latest article is to be believed, artificial intelligence is moving so fast it sometimes seems almost "magical."


From ACM Opinion

Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries

Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries

Google Ideas, the New York City–based "think/do tank" run by the Internet search giant, is launching several new technologies designed to highlight hacker attacks around the world and help people in repressive regimes access…


From ACM Opinion

Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think

Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think

A silver BMW 5 Series is weaving through traffic at roughly 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph) on a freeway that cuts northeast through Bavaria between Munich and Ingolstadt.


From ACM Opinion

Is Ad Avoidance a Problem?

Is Ad Avoidance a Problem?

Back in the twentieth century, people were roughly equal in their power to avoid advertising.


From ACM News

Intelligence Chief Clapper Cites 'Casablanca' in Dismissing Merkel Mess

Intelligence Chief Clapper Cites 'Casablanca' in Dismissing Merkel Mess

You must remember this: A kiss is just a kiss, a spy is just a spy.


From ACM Opinion

Don Boroson on NASA's Record-breaking Use of Laser Communications

Don Boroson on NASA's Record-breaking Use of Laser Communications

Last week, NASA announced that the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) on its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft had made history by using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the…


From ACM Opinion

Craig Venter: Why I Put My Name in Synthetic Genomes

Craig Venter: Why I Put My Name in Synthetic Genomes

How has the definition of life changed during your lifetime?


From ACM Opinion

Lavabit Founder Says He Fought Feds to Protect the Constitution

Lavabit Founder Says He Fought Feds to Protect the Constitution

Like a story straight out of the universe of Franz Kafka, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison found himself before a judge in Washington, representing himself against an entire team of representatives for the U.S. government.


From ACM Opinion

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

On the evening of February 12, 2009, a Continental Connection commuter flight made its way through blustery weather between Newark, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York.


From ACM Opinion

There's One Key Difference Between Kids Who Excel at Math and Those Who Don't

There's One Key Difference Between Kids Who Excel at Math and Those Who Don't

"I’m just not a math person."


From ACM Opinion

The Information-Gathering Paradox

The Information-Gathering Paradox

Consumer trust is a vital currency for every big Internet company, which helps to explain why the giants of Silicon Valley have gone to great lengths in recent months to show how hard they are fighting back against government…


From ACM Opinion

Are Smartphones Turning Us Into Bad Samaritans?

Are Smartphones Turning Us Into Bad Samaritans?

In late September, on a crowded commuter train in San Francisco, a man shot and killed 20-year-old student Justin Valdez.


From ACM Opinion

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

"It depends on what you mean by artificial intelligence."


From ACM Opinion

U.K. Official Urges U.S. Government to Adopt a Digital Core

U.K. Official Urges U.S. Government to Adopt a Digital Core

When he read about the technical failures plaguing HealthCare.gov, Mike Bracken said it felt like a real-life version of the movie Groundhog Day.


From ACM Opinion

The Battle for Power on the Internet

The Battle for Power on the Internet

We're in the middle of an epic battle for power in cyberspace.


From ACM Opinion

Inside Paul Allen's Plan to Reverse-Engineer the Human Brain

Inside Paul Allen's Plan to Reverse-Engineer the Human Brain

In 2003, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen spent $100 million to build the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.


From ACM Opinion

The Decline of Wikipedia

The Decline of Wikipedia

The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10.


From ACM Opinion

Ron Wyden: Lonely Hero of the Battle Against the Surveillance State

Ron Wyden: Lonely Hero of the Battle Against the Surveillance State

When historians write about the civil-liberties crisis of this decade, the story will be full of vivid figures—Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning, the fragile soldier who broke in a battle zone and has paid a high price; Edward Snowden…


From ACM Opinion

Former NSA Chief: NSA and U.S. Cyber Command Are Now 'Indistinguishable'

Former NSA Chief: NSA and U.S. Cyber Command Are Now 'Indistinguishable'

The public's trust in government has been battered by repeated abuses of power, but it's not the NSA's fault.


From ACM Opinion

Why Apple Wants Its Software to Be Free

Why Apple Wants Its Software to Be Free

Who knew Apple would become such a big shareware company?


From ACM Opinion

Why I Am Unapologetic About Paywalls or Promotion

Why I Am Unapologetic About Paywalls or Promotion

Late last week I posted a short essay on LinkedIn, where I am an Influencer, called "The best case study you'll ever read."


From ACM Opinion

Twitter: Tweets and Hashtags Will Shape How We Think

Twitter: Tweets and Hashtags Will Shape How We Think

One day, a user of Twitter decided to do something no else had tried before.


From ACM Opinion

Here's Why the Feds Didn't Have More Skilled Programmers for HealthCare.gov

Here's Why the Feds Didn't Have More Skilled Programmers for HealthCare.gov

HealthCare.gov, the Web site at the center of President Obama's federal health insurance exchange, has been plagued with problems since it opened for business Oct. 1.


From ACM Opinion

Publishing: Open Citations

Publishing: Open Citations

When Heather Piwowar set out in May last year to investigate whether making research data publicly available increased the citation rates of articles, she never anticipated the difficulties.


From ACM Opinion

Dina Katabi

Dina Katabi

Syrian-born Dina Katabi is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was awarded a MacArthur "genius grant" last month for her work on improving the speed, reliability…


From ACM Opinion

Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, on Making Home Devices Cool

Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, on Making Home Devices Cool

Nest Labs' first product has made it the darling of both the clean tech industry and design crowd.


From ACM Opinion

Huawei Executive Talks About Cyber Security

Huawei Executive Talks About Cyber Security

As the world's second-largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment, Huawei plays a part in the technology industry's efforts to ensure network security around the world. But last year, some U.S. lawmakers called Huawei…


From ACM Opinion

10 Questions for IBM's Katharine Frase

10 Questions for IBM's Katharine Frase

Dr. Katharine Frase was appointed chief technology officer of IBM in March 2013. She sets IBM's technical strategy and defines areas of growth in addition to cultivating emerging technologies.


From ACM Opinion

How to Design—And Defend Against—The Perfect Security Backdoor

How to Design—And Defend Against—The Perfect Security Backdoor

We already know the NSA wants to eavesdrop on the Internet. 

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