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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 2014


From ACM Opinion

How the Smartphone Killed Typing—But Started an AI Revolution

How the Smartphone Killed Typing—But Started an AI Revolution

Steve Jobs often swam against the tide of prevailing opinion.


From ACM Opinion

Algorithms Are Great and All, But They Can Also Ruin Lives

Algorithms Are Great and All, But They Can Also Ruin Lives

On April 5, 2011, 41-year-old John Gass received a letter from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Surveillance State Lives On

Why the Surveillance State Lives On

Once upon a time, Glenn Greenwald was a lonely voice in the blogging wilderness, and Edward Snowden was an isolated functionary at the heart of the American national-security state.


From ACM Opinion

Automation Makes Us Dumb

Automation Makes Us Dumb

Artificial intelligence has arrived.


From ACM Opinion

Baidu's Andrew Ng on Deep Learning and Innovation in Silicon Valley

Baidu's Andrew Ng on Deep Learning and Innovation in Silicon Valley

Six months ago, Chinese Internet-search giant Baidu signaled its ambitions to innovate by opening an artificial-intelligence center in Silicon Valley, in Google's backyard.


From ACM Opinion

When Fitbit Is the Expert Witness

When Fitbit Is the Expert Witness

Self-tracking using a wearable device can be fascinating. It can drive you to exercise more, make you reflect on how much (or little) you sleep, and help you detect patterns in your mood over time. But something else is happening…


From ACM Opinion

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn

In just four years of operation, Uber has ignited a new global ride-sharing industry with the promise of transforming urban transportation and helping many people get by without owning cars.


From ACM Opinion

The Simple Question Nobody's Asking About Net Neutrality

The Simple Question Nobody's Asking About Net Neutrality

President Obama rattled the internet this week when he unloaded his opinion on net neutrality, the notion that all internet traffic should be treated equally.


From ACM Opinion

Google CEO on Moonshots: Find a 'Zero Million Dollar' Research Problem

Google CEO on Moonshots: Find a 'Zero Million Dollar' Research Problem

To succeed at a moonshot, you need curiosity, impulse, and a problem that no one seems to be investing in.


From ACM Opinion

Reasons to Land on a Comet: What the Rosetta Mission Can Learn

Reasons to Land on a Comet: What the Rosetta Mission Can Learn

After a journey that took more than a decade, the world is scheduled to witness a first when the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission attempts to land a small spacecraft on the surface of a comet.


From ACM Opinion

Why We're All Beta Testers Now

Why We're All Beta Testers Now

I taught a class a few years ago at Columbia Business School called "What Makes a Hit a Hit—and a Flop a Flop."


From ACM Opinion

These Are 3 Breakthrough Science Ideas You'll Be Talking About in 2015

These Are 3 Breakthrough Science Ideas You'll Be Talking About in 2015

For anyone who has ever said that all the STEM professions need is something to make them "cool" in order to attract more young people, look no further than the Breakthrough Prize award ceremony, which took place at NASA's Hangar…


From ACM Opinion

William Gibson: I Never Imagined Facebook

William Gibson: I Never Imagined Facebook

Even if you've never heard of William Gibson, you're probably familiar with his work.


From ACM Careers

For Rosetta Mission's Scientists, the Thrill Is in the Comet Chase

For Rosetta Mission's Scientists, the Thrill Is in the Comet Chase

Claudia Alexander has spent the last 15 years of her life waiting for this moment: landing a spacecraft the size of a washing machine on the surface of a speeding comet.


From ACM Opinion

Space-Time Visionary

Space-Time Visionary

Thanks to theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, real science is embedded in Christopher Nolan's film Interstellar, in which explorers seek a new home for humankind.


From ACM Opinion

Google Scholar Pioneer on Search Engine's Future

Google Scholar Pioneer on Search Engine's Future

Anurag Acharya, co-creator of Google Scholar, talks about the service's history and what he sees for its future.


From ACM Opinion

A Sad Fact of Life: It's Actually Smart to Be Mean Online

A Sad Fact of Life: It's Actually Smart to Be Mean Online

I'm generally upbeat on Twitter. Many of my posts are enthusiastic blurts about science or research in which I use way too many exclamation points!!


From ACM Opinion

Will MOOCs Be Flukes?

Will MOOCs Be Flukes?

On July 23rd, 1969, Geoffrey Crowther addressed the inaugural meeting of the Open University, a British institution that had just been created to provide an alternative to traditional higher education.


From ACM TechNews

Casting Light on the Internet's Shadows (and Shadowing)

Casting Light on the Internet's Shadows (and Shadowing)

In an interview, Princeton University professor Arvind Narayanan and the Center for Information Technology Policy's Solon Barocas discuss the ethical and social ramifications of online tracking.


From ACM Opinion

North Korea: Surfing the Net in the World's Most Isolated Nation

North Korea: Surfing the Net in the World's Most Isolated Nation

What's the point of a computer in a hermit country sealed off from the internet?


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence as a Threat

Artificial Intelligence as a Threat

Ebola sounds like the stuff of nightmares. Bird flu and SARS also send shivers down my spine.


From ACM Opinion

Invasion of the Data Snatchers

Invasion of the Data Snatchers

New technologies are making it easier for private companies and the government to learn about everything we do—in our homes, in our cars, in stores, and within our communities.


From ACM News

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian.


From ACM Opinion

The Surreal Task of Landing on a Comet

The Surreal Task of Landing on a Comet

On November 12th 2014 the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission will eject the small robotic lander Philae on a trajectory that should take it down to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (or 67P/C-P for short).


From ACM Opinion

Oculus Rift 'Fantastic' But Won't Replace Movies, Says 'Minority Report' FX Guru

Oculus Rift 'Fantastic' But Won't Replace Movies, Says 'Minority Report' FX Guru

Oculus Rift is "fantastic" but virtual reality won't replace movies just yet, according to two legends of special effects.


From ACM Opinion

The Web Is a Terrorist's Command-and-Control Network of Choice

The Web Is a Terrorist's Command-and-Control Network of Choice

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) is the first terrorist group whose members have grown up on the internet.


From ACM Opinion

FT Interview with Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page

FT Interview with Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page

Wouldn't the world be a happier place if 90 per cent of the people with jobs put their feet up instead and left the robots to do the work?


From ACM Opinion

What Is It Like to Control a Robotic Arm with a Brain Implant?

What Is It Like to Control a Robotic Arm with a Brain Implant?

Jan Scheuermann is not your average experimental subject.


From Communications of the ACM

Summing Up

Summing Up

Considering recent privacy- and security-related events through this column.


From Communications of the ACM

Designing User Incentives for Cybersecurity

Designing User Incentives for Cybersecurity

How to encourage better user security practices and behavior

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