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Communications of the ACM

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

December 2016


From ACM Opinion

You Won't Believe What NASA Hid from Us This Year

You Won't Believe What NASA Hid from Us This Year

As the federal agency at the forefront of exploring outer space, NASA winds up being the front door for all manner of alien conspiracies.


From ACM Opinion

Here's What a 'Digital Miranda Warning' Might Look Like

Here's What a 'Digital Miranda Warning' Might Look Like

Anyone who has ever watched an American crime movie or television show can practically recite the Miranda warning by heart, even if they don't know its official name.


From ACM Opinion

How One Reporter Turned to His Readers to Investigate Donald Trump

How One Reporter Turned to His Readers to Investigate Donald Trump

David Fahrenthold's coverage of Donald Trump’s charities this year for The Washington Post stood out for its quality and depth. It also stood out the way he did his work.


From ACM Opinion

Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2017

Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2017

If you've seen in it in a movie, you might see it in reality in 2017.


From ACM Opinion

Best Books of 2016

Best Books of 2016

Our editors' picks for the best books of 2016, and some they're eagerly anticipating.


From ACM Opinion

NASA's Overlooked Duty to Look Inward

NASA's Overlooked Duty to Look Inward

In 1942, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the poet Archibald MacLeish wrote an essay called "The Image of Victory," in which he asked what winning the Second World War, the "airman’s war," would mean for posterity.


From ACM News

The Year Encryption Won

The Year Encryption Won

Between the revelations of mega-hacks of Yahoo and others, Russia's meddling in the US electoral system, and the recent spike in ransomware, it's easy to look at 2016 as a bleak year for security.


From ACM Opinion

2017 Sneak Peek: What the New Year Holds for Science

2017 Sneak Peek: What the New Year Holds for Science

If the United States pulls back on its climate commitments as president-elect Donald Trump has promised, China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, could take the lead on climate-change mitigation.


From ACM Opinion

Heinlein and Clarke Discuss the Moon Landings as They Happen

Heinlein and Clarke Discuss the Moon Landings as They Happen

Chances are that anyone in their 50s or older will remember watching Apollo 11 land on the Moon.


From ACM Opinion

Building Jarvis

Building Jarvis

My personal challenge for 2016 was to build a simple AI to run my home—like Jarvis in Iron Man.


From ACM Opinion

Dear Mr. Trump: To 'Cyber' Better, Try the Blockchain

Dear Mr. Trump: To 'Cyber' Better, Try the Blockchain

A massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack took several high-profile websites—Twitter, Amazon, the New York Times, even WIRED—offline in October.


From ACM Opinion

The Internet Is Broken. Starting from Scratch, Here's How I'd Fix It.

The Internet Is Broken. Starting from Scratch, Here's How I'd Fix It.

My big idea is that we have to fix the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X, on the Future of AI, Robots, and Coffeemakers

Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X, on the Future of AI, Robots, and Coffeemakers

Astro Teller has an unusual way of starting a new project: He tries to kill it.


From ACM Opinion

A World of Surveillance Doesn't Always Help to Catch a Thief

A World of Surveillance Doesn't Always Help to Catch a Thief

Earlier this year, I had a beer in one of the more budget-conscious bars in the Mission district. My wallet stayed a little later than I did.


From ACM Opinion

If Only AI Could Save Us from Ourselves

If Only AI Could Save Us from Ourselves

Humans have broken the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

If We Made Contact with Aliens, How Would Religions React?

If We Made Contact with Aliens, How Would Religions React?

In 2014, Nasa awarded $1.1M to the Center for Theological Inquiry, an ecumenical research institute in New Jersey, to study “the societal implications of astrobiology”.


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence Has a Big Year Ahead

Artificial Intelligence Has a Big Year Ahead

Get ready for AI to show up where you'd least expect it.


From ACM Opinion

NASA Science Chief: 'I Have No Worries About the Resilience of This Country'

NASA Science Chief: 'I Have No Worries About the Resilience of This Country'

Solar physicist Thomas Zurbuchen became NASA's science chief in October, replacing astronaut John Grunsfeld. Just one month later, the US political system went through a seismic shift when Donald Trump was elected president.


From ACM Opinion

Where Will NASA Go in the Age of Trump?

Where Will NASA Go in the Age of Trump?

Two weeks after a presidential election that could have vaulted him to the head of NASA, John Grunsfeld reached across his peanut curry at a small restaurant on the Far West Side of Manhattan, grabbed my notebook and sketched…


From ACM Opinion

Cybersecurity's Next Phase: Cyber-Deterrence

Cybersecurity's Next Phase: Cyber-Deterrence

Cyberattackers pose many threats to a wide range of targets. Russia, for example, was accused of hacking Democratic Party computers throughout the year, interfering with the U.S. presidential election. 


From ACM Opinion

Three Touchy Questions for Tech Leaders to Ask Trump

Three Touchy Questions for Tech Leaders to Ask Trump

Few in the technology sector besides Peter Thiel had much love for Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.


From ACM Opinion

Trump Ignoring US Intelligence Creates Risks Beyond Russian Hacking

Trump Ignoring US Intelligence Creates Risks Beyond Russian Hacking

Observers and alumni of America's intelligence community have already fretted over Donald Trump's impending control of the world's most powerful spy agencies.


From ACM Opinion

Two Friends Who Changed How We Think About How We Think

Two Friends Who Changed How We Think About How We Think

In 2003, we reviewed "Moneyball," Michael Lewis's book about Billy Beane and the Oakland A's


From ACM Opinion

The Cynical Gambit to Make 'Fake News' Meaningless

The Cynical Gambit to Make 'Fake News' Meaningless

For a term that is suddenly everywhere, "fake news" is fairly slippery.


From ACM Opinion

Despite Its Promise, the Internet of Things Remains Vulnerable

Despite Its Promise, the Internet of Things Remains Vulnerable

More and more of the things we use every day are being connected to the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

The Gadget Apocalypse Is Upon Us

The Gadget Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Remember gadgets?


From ACM Opinion

Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker

Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker

For decades Hollywood has treated computers as magic boxes from which endless plot points could be conjured, in denial of all common sense.


From ACM News

Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search

Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search

Here's what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That's all I did.


From ACM Opinion

Sue Over Fake News? Not So Fast

Sue Over Fake News? Not So Fast

The latest controversy involving so-called fake news has left many wondering why websites that publish patently false statements on the Internet have not been prosecuted or sued for money damages.


From ACM Opinion

Earth, the Final Frontier

Earth, the Final Frontier

On April 1, 1960, the newly established National Aeronautics and Space Administration heaved a 270-pound box of electronics into Earth orbit.

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