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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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

November 2011


From ACM Opinion

Is Personal Data the New Currency?

What if Facebook paid you? Several startups envision an era in which we are all the brokers, and beneficiaries, of our own personal data.


From ACM Opinion

Cutting Their Own Throats

Traditional publishing is dominated by the Big Six publishing groups—folks like Hachette, Holtzbrinck, Penguin-Putnam, and so on. In general these publishers and their imprints refuse to publish ebooks without DRM.


From ACM Opinion

Nobody Needs a Tablet

Tablet manufacturers don't know what you—in the back of your mind—already know. No one needs a tablet.

Millions of people already own tablets in the U.S. Millions if not tens of millions more want one, and may very well getrequires…


From ACM TechNews

Google Usability Chief: Ideas Have to Be Discoverable

Google Usability Chief: Ideas Have to Be Discoverable

Google's Dan Russell recently spoke to New Scientist on improving searches. 


From ACM Opinion

Who Watches the Watchers?

Once again, specialized security technology from a western vendor was found being used by foreign regime on the U.S. trade embargo list.


From ACM Opinion

Who Needs Keys When Siri Has Been Hacked to Start Cars?

Last week we showed you how a developer had hacked Siri to operate his internet-connected thermostat. But that's not cool. Starting your car using Siri, now that's cool.


From ACM Opinion

Internet Anti-Piracy Bill Would Chill Free Expression

A bill in the House aims to fight online piracy, but its blunderbuss approach would cripple online innovation and chill free expression on the Web.


From ACM TechNews

Q&A: Exascale Now a Global Race for Tech

Q&A: Exascale Now a Global Race for Tech

Peter Beckman, director of the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, recently spoke with Computerworld about current developments in exascale computing. 


From ACM Opinion

Voice Recognition: Has It Come of Age?

Voice Recognition: Has It Come of Age?

The man sits down in front of the computer and says, affably: "Computer!"


From ACM Opinion

The Big Data Boom Is the Innovation Story of Our Time

The Big Data Boom Is the Innovation Story of Our Time

The data revolution has turned customers into unwitting business consultants, as our purchases and searches are tracked to improve everything from Web sites to delivery route.


From ACM TechNews

EU Chief Privacy Regulator on New Internet Rules

EU Chief Privacy Regulator on New Internet Rules

In an interview, European Commission vice president Viviane Reding discusses the differences between U.S. and European views on Internet privacy regulation. 


From ACM Opinion

Q&A: Exascale Now a Global Race for Tech

The international competition to build an exascale supercomputer is gaining steam, especially in China and Europe, according to Peter Beckman, a top computer scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory…


From ACM Opinion

Walter Isaacson, Biographer of Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson, Biographer of Steve Jobs

I’ve known Steve off and on since 1984. I was at Time magazine and he came to our offices to show us the original Macintosh. He was talking about these icons on the screen with a passion that these icons were going to change…


From ACM News

Managing the Demise of Privacy

Managing the Demise of Privacy

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists examine identity management in social media at the Privacy Identity Innovation conference.


From ACM Opinion

Occupy the Net!

Occupy the Net!

What would George Orwell make of Facebook? Nothing really: His account would probably be deactivated by the company. If he were lucky, he would be told to produce a scanned first page of his passport and return as Eric Blair…


From ACM Opinion

Google and Microsoft Talk Artificial Intelligence

Google and Microsoft Talk Artificial Intelligence

Google and Microsoft don't share a stage often, being increasingly fierce competitors in areas such as Web search, mobile, and cloud computing. But the rivals can agree on some things—like the importance of artificial intelligence…


From ACM Opinion

The Last Person

There is a concept in telecommunications called "the last mile," that part of any phone system that is the most difficult to connect—the part that goes from the main lines into people's homes. Prem Kalra, the director of the…


From ACM Opinion

Misconceptions in AI: Or Why Watson Can't Talk to Siri

Misconceptions in AI: Or Why Watson Can't Talk to Siri

On Tuesday night, I was schooled by Watson on playing Jeopardy in an exhibition match at the Computer History Museum. I discovered that despite our fear of the robot overlords, humans are much smarter than we think. Case in…


From ACM TechNews

The Bumpy Road to Exascale: A Q&A With Thomas Sterling

The Bumpy Road to Exascale: A Q&A With Thomas Sterling

Indiana University professor Thomas Sterling says in an interview that an effort is under way to cultivate an international community committed to the goal of developing a shared software stack for exascale computing.

Sterling…


From ACM Opinion

Could 3D Printing End Our Throwaway Culture?

There's a tiny knob missing from my hands-free car kit, which I keep meaning to replace. The thing is, I don't think I can buy parts for it, so I probably need to fork out for a whole new system, which, frankly, I'm reluctant…


From ACM Opinion

Slow Train to the Future

Slow Train to the Future

Tablets are in, computer labs are out, and the cloud is the new hard drive, according to technology futurists. But a new survey from Student Monitor suggests that college students are not quite in step with the future of campus…


From ACM Opinion

Will Cloud Computing Make Everything (and Everyone) Work Harder?

What do the following have in common: Computers, limousines, empty beds and stay-at-home moms?

The cloud keeps them busy.

The rest of us are next.

Virtualization of computer servers, a core element in the development of cloud…


From ACM Opinion

U.S. Anti-Hacking Law Turns Computer Users into Criminals

A commonly invoked anti-hacking law is so overbroad that it criminalizes conduct as innocuous as using a fake user name on Facebook or fibbing about your weight in a Match.com profile, one of the U.S.'s most respected legal…


From ACM Opinion

Stephen King's Rules for Time Travel

If you're going to travel back in time, author Stephen King says, preparation is everything. The further back you go, the more you have to think about.


From ACM Opinion

Privacy Loses in Twitter/Wikileaks Records Battle

A district court judge in Virginia ruled against online privacy, allowing U.S federal investigators to collect private records of three Twitter users as part of its investigation related to Wikileaks. The judge also blocked the…


From ACM Opinion

Our High-Tech Health-Care Future

Why can't Americans tap into the ingenuity that put men on the moon, created the Internet, and sequenced the human genome to revitalize our economy?


From ACM Opinion

Take That, Adobe! Jobs Gets Last Laugh on Flash

In April, 2010, Steve Jobs devoted about 1,700 words to a public post ripping Adobe's Flash to shreds. His most cutting comments concerned the mobile version of Flash.


From ACM TechNews

In Love With Android: Q&A With Matias Duarte

In Love With Android: Q&A With Matias Duarte

Google Android user experience director Matias Duarte notes that games influenced the new design for Android version 4.0, which includes new features such as Face Unlock, a facial-recognition system that opens the phone. 


From ACM Opinion

Blogging the Stanford Machine Learning Class

After three weeks of frustrating math dealing with dull statistics problems, we’re on to frustrating math dealing with "neural networks"—models of how the cells in your brain pass information to one another.


From ACM Opinion

How Can Malware Be Stopped?

The world of cybersecurity is starting to resemble a paranoid thriller.

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