The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Philosophers have been gnawing on the infamous Trolley Problem for decades, and it’s always been a purely intellectual exercise with no "right" answer.
Artificial intelligence is coming to a messaging app near you.
Government officials argue that encrypted communication poses national security risks. But tech companies say that making it possible to unlock devices would make the tools less secure for everyone.
Some 20 months ago, I started having trouble sleeping.
In theory, the Internet of Things—the connected network of tiny computers inside home appliances, household objects, even clothing—promises to make your life easier and your work more efficient.
A Swiss company is set to become the first firm to capture carbon dioxide from the air and sell it on a commercial scale, a stepping stone to larger facilities that could one day help to combat global warming.
When rumors began to fly about a merger between chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont , it was obvious the deal was not your ordinary fee-driven scheme dreamed up by investment bankers.
Thomas Furness is known as the pioneer who stood at the inception of what we know today as virtual reality.
The technology for altering defects in the human genome has progressed so rapidly in the last three years that it has outstripped the ability of scientists and ethicists to understand and cope with the consequences.
Like any proud father, Gary Marcus is only too happy to talk about the latest achievements of his two-year-old son.
"You're a male, you're 34-years-old and your 5-foot-10 1/2 inches tall." That's a prediction that Craig Venter, long a pioneer on the frontier of genomics, offered to me while we spoke on the phone.
Elon Musk and Sam Altman worry that artificial intelligence will take over the world. So, the two entrepreneurs are creating a billion-dollar not-for-profit company that will maximize the power of AI—and then share it with anyone…
In the face of a Federal Bureau of Investigation proposal requesting backdoors into encrypted communications, a noted encryption expert urged Congress not to adopt the requirements due to technical faults in the plan.
In the name of protecting us against terrorists, law enforcement agencies want high tech companies to relinquish their Golden Keys, backdoors to their otherwise unbreakable encryption algorithms.
For a story that takes place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" a great deal of the technology in the "Star Wars" series actually has parallels today on planet Earth.
Welcome to the era of AI-human hybrid intelligence, where people and artificial intelligence systems work together seamlessly.
One of the challenges in describing the potential of self-driving cars is that they promise to do so much.
On April 1, 2009, Google unveiled Gmail Autopilot, a plug-in that promised to read and generate contextually relevant replies to the messages piling up in users' inboxes.
Yahoo and I go way back.
At the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in October, CRISPR-Cas9 inventors Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier accepted the Gruber Genetics Prize, then stopped by the press room. For me, this was a little like…
Turning Point: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria declares a war on Twitter.
At a dinner I attended some years ago, the distinguished differential geometer Eugenio Calabi volunteered to me his tongue-in-cheek distinction between pure and applied mathematicians.
For the last 30 years, the MIT Lab has been a breeding ground for technological progress that’s pushed the world into the future.
The idea of a drill-wielding hacker who runs a deep-web empire selling drugs to teens seems like a fantasy embodying the worst of digital technology.
OK, I'm biased, given the countless hours I have spent over the past three decades creating algorithms, implementing them on computers, and then writing about them in academic papers that few people read.
The Internet is routinely described as borderless, and that is often how it feels.
When Chinese scientists announced in April they had edited human embryos using a new genetic tool called Crispr, the headlines blared "designer babies," and the world woke up to Crispr's power.
At 11:59 P.M. on Saturday night, the U.S. National Security Agency supposedly yanked the cord on its bulk telephone records collection, thereby ending an expansive surveillance program that the nation's intelligence community…
. . . and why it will have to wait.
On repositories of patches and tension between security professionals and in-house developers.
Keith Abney of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences group of California Polytechnic State University surveys the moral landscape of cyberwar.
What are schools for, and is coding a necessary part of that?
The abstraction from big data on English words of distributed vector representations computing simple semantic aspects has drawn interest from …
Comets that take more than 200 years to make one …
Researchers have developed a biological computer that functions inside living …
Science is in the throes of a reproducibility crisis, and researchers …