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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 2015


From ACM Opinion

Better Than Sci-Fi

Better Than Sci-Fi

Science fiction has imagined some pretty wild ideas about the universe and our place in it.


From ACM Opinion

Metadata Surveillance Didn't Stop the Paris Attacks

Metadata Surveillance Didn't Stop the Paris Attacks

Since terrorists struck Paris last Friday night, the debate over whether encryption prevents intelligence services from stopping attacks has reignited.


From ACM Opinion

What Digital Trash Dumped in Games Tells Us About the Players

What Digital Trash Dumped in Games Tells Us About the Players

A strawberry Christmas cake, sexy pants, a pool table, three red jet planes, a hippy bandana, a dog sled, a jetpack, a pair of Adidas trainers, a Tudor throne, a bullet stopped in mid-flight, an iced frappé, an entire shopping…


From ACM Opinion

How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

Online ad networks and search engines love it when you surf around.


From ACM Opinion

Stopping WhatsApp Won't Stop Terrorists

Stopping WhatsApp Won't Stop Terrorists

Is the ability to send encrypted messages making it hard to stop terrorists?


From ACM Opinion

Oh the Places We Won't Go: Humans Will Settle Mars, and Nowhere Else

Oh the Places We Won't Go: Humans Will Settle Mars, and Nowhere Else

Humans will become a multi-planet species by making it to Mars, but no farther.


From ACM Opinion

Edward Snowden Explains How to Reclaim Your Privacy

Edward Snowden Explains How to Reclaim Your Privacy

Last month, I met Edward Snowden in a hotel in central Moscow, just blocks away from Red Square.


From ACM Opinion

CRISPR: A Path Through the Thicket

CRISPR: A Path Through the Thicket

The ease of use, accuracy and efficiency of the genome-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 has led to its broad adoption in research, as well as to preliminary applications in agriculture and in gene therapies involving non-reproductive…


From ACM Opinion

Get Ready for Your Digital Model

Get Ready for Your Digital Model

Entrusting your money to a bank once seemed strange and risky.


From ACM Opinion

Leading Theory of Solar System Formation Just Disproved!

Leading Theory of Solar System Formation Just Disproved!

Looks like the inner planets formed *after* the gas giants moved to their current position, and Jupiter ejected a fifth giant, too!


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence: 'Homo Sapiens Will Be Split Into a Handful of Gods and the Rest of Us'

Artificial Intelligence: 'Homo Sapiens Will Be Split Into a Handful of Gods and the Rest of Us'

If you wanted relief from stories about tyre factories and steel plants closing, you could try relaxing with a new 300-page report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch which looks at the likely effects of a robot revolution.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google Is Willing to Give Away Its Latest Machine-Learning Software

Why Google Is Willing to Give Away Its Latest Machine-Learning Software

Google's move to give away its latest machine-learning software, key to its speech- and photo-recognition programs, isn’t as crazy as it may appear.


From ACM Opinion

The Cyberthreat Under the Street

The Cyberthreat Under the Street

Within the last year there have been 16 so-called fiber cuts in the San Francisco Bay Area.


From ACM Opinion

I'm Going to Make Facebook's AI Predict What Happens in Videos

I'm Going to Make Facebook's AI Predict What Happens in Videos

What are the big challenges ahead for you?


From ACM Opinion

Update: SETI Sees No Alien Signals From Weird Star

Update: SETI Sees No Alien Signals From Weird Star

A few weeks ago, I (and a zillion other people) reported on a star about 1,500 light-years away that was acting … weirdly.


From ACM Opinion

From Army of One to Band of Tweeters

From Army of One to Band of Tweeters

It was the end of a long combat patrol near a district called Adhamiyah, in northwest Baghdad, in the fall of 2008.


From ACM Opinion

Informatics: Make Sense of Health Data

Informatics: Make Sense of Health Data

If you are wondering whether exposure to some chemical could increase your chances of getting colon cancer, you could easily find supportive evidence from animal experiments. You might then discover that epidemiological studies…


From ACM Opinion

America's Crypto Battles

America's Crypto Battles

John Miller reckons he can get into pretty much any safe.


From ACM Opinion

Tangled Up in Entanglement

Tangled Up in Entanglement

No area of physics causes more confusion, not just among the general public but also among physicists, than quantum mechanics.


From ACM Opinion

The Hot New Job in Silicon Valley Is Being a Robot's Assistant

The Hot New Job in Silicon Valley Is Being a Robot's Assistant

"I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords." So goes the joke every time artificial intelligence threatens to supersede humans in another job.


From ACM Opinion

Wendell Brooks on Preparing to Lead Intel Capital

Wendell Brooks on Preparing to Lead Intel Capital

In an exclusive interview, he spoke to reporter Deborah Gage in San Diego, where about 1,200 of Intel's executives, portfolio companies, partners and customers have gathered for the annual Intel Capital Global Summit.


From ACM Opinion

The Master Algorithm: A World Remade By Machines that Learn

The Master Algorithm: A World Remade By Machines that Learn

Pedro Domingos's new book is a compelling but rather unquestioning insider view of the search for the ultimate in machine learning.


From ACM Opinion

If There Is Water on Mars, Who Gets to Use It?

If There Is Water on Mars, Who Gets to Use It?

Humans settle around water, especially in the desert.


From ACM Opinion

The Room Where the Internet Was Born

The Room Where the Internet Was Born

Starting a cross-country drive to New York in Los Angeles is pretty inconvenient, unless your cross-country drive is also a vision quest to see the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

The Light-Beam Rider

The Light-Beam Rider

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the General Theory of Relativity, the most beautiful theory in the history of science, and in its honor we should take a moment to celebrate the visualized "thought experiments" that…


From ACM Opinion

The Physical Origin of Universal Computing

The Physical Origin of Universal Computing

Imagine you're shopping for a new car, and the salesperson says, "Did you know, this car doesn't just drive on the road."


From Communications of the ACM

An Interview with Fred Brooks

An Interview with Fred Brooks

ACM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award recipient Fred Brooks reflects on his career.


From Communications of the ACM

When Technologies Manipulate Our Emotions

When Technologies Manipulate Our Emotions

Implications of the Facebook emotions study.


From Communications of the ACM

Security Assurance

Security Assurance

How can customers tell they are getting it?


From Communications of the ACM

Software Patents Are Falling Down

Software Patents Are Falling Down

Implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's new test for patentable subject matter.

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