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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.

February 2018


From ACM Opinion

Apple's China Lesson: Think Different, But Not Too Different

Apple's China Lesson: Think Different, But Not Too Different

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook will co-chair the Chinese government's showcase global business forum next month, underscoring his increasingly high profile here as Apple and other companies wrestle with tough new government…


From ACM Opinion

Tech Companies Should Stop Pretending AI Won't Destroy Jobs

Tech Companies Should Stop Pretending AI Won't Destroy Jobs

I took an Uber to an artificial-­intelligence conference at MIT one recent morning, and the driver asked me how long it would take for autonomous vehicles to take away his job.


From ACM Opinion

Where the 'Crisis Actor' Conspiracy Theory Comes From

Where the 'Crisis Actor' Conspiracy Theory Comes From

The term "crisis actor" has been in the news a lot lately, because conspiracy theorists have accused survivors of the Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, of being actors—people paid to pretend they witnessed…


From ACM Opinion

This 'Gray Hat' Hacker Breaks Into Your Car, to Prove a Point

This 'Gray Hat' Hacker Breaks Into Your Car, to Prove a Point

Cybercrime is expanding beyond computers and cellphones. Cars, washers and dryers, and even toasters are going online—an evolution of technology called the Internet of Things.


From ACM Opinion

How Trump Conquered Facebook, Without Russian Ads

How Trump Conquered Facebook, Without Russian Ads

It's not every day that a former work colleague gets retweeted by the president of the United States.


From ACM Opinion

Cryptocurrency: The Hail Mary Pass for People Who Missed the Tech Boom

Cryptocurrency: The Hail Mary Pass for People Who Missed the Tech Boom

Between mid-December and early February, bitcoin lost more than half its value, dropping from a high of nearly twenty thousand dollars to just below seven thousand.


From ACM Opinion

Russia's Troll Operation Was Not That Sophisticated

Russia's Troll Operation Was Not That Sophisticated

It might be nice for Democrats and #NeverTrumpers to believe that Russia's troll factory brought Donald Trump the 2016 Presidential Election.


From ACM Opinion

How to Make Replication the Norm

How to Make Replication the Norm

Replication is essential for building confidence in research studies, yet it is still the exception rather than the rule.


From ACM Opinion

How Technology Is Designed to Bring Out The Worst In Us

How Technology Is Designed to Bring Out The Worst In Us

Tristan Harris has become an influential critic of how Silicon Valley designs products to addict us. In an interview, Harris talks about how the 2016 election threw Silicon Valley into crisis, why negative emotions dominate online…


From ACM Opinion

How to Monitor Fake News

How to Monitor Fake News

The indictment of 13 Russians filed on Friday by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, details the secret workings of the Internet Research Agency, an organization…


From ACM Opinion

The Father of the Internet Sees His Invention Reflected Back Through a 'Black Mirror'

The Father of the Internet Sees His Invention Reflected Back Through a 'Black Mirror'

In 1984, two men were thinking a lot about the Internet. One of them invented it. The other is an artist who would see its impact on society with uncanny prescience.


From ACM Opinion

How Russia Turned the Internet Against America

How Russia Turned the Internet Against America

The indictment released Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller makes plain how prosecutors believe Russia pursued its multiyear scheme to undermine the 2016 presidential election—by wielding the social media-driven Internet…


From ACM News

2 Years After FBI vs. Apple, Encryption Debate Remains

2 Years After FBI vs. Apple, Encryption Debate Remains

It's been two years since the FBI and Apple got into a giant fight over encryption following the San Bernardino shooting, when the government had the shooter's iPhone, but not the password needed to unlock it, so it asked Apple…


From ACM Opinion

China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious

China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious

For all the particularities of life in China, its big cities offer a familiar cosmopolitanism.


From ACM Opinion

19th-Century Paleontology Was at the Forefront of Big Data

19th-Century Paleontology Was at the Forefront of Big Data

In 1981, when I was 9 years old, my father took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark.


From ACM Opinion

How Technology Can Make Valentine's Day Much, Much Better

How Technology Can Make Valentine's Day Much, Much Better

Every February I agonize over the Valentine's Day Dilemma. How can I show my girlfriend, whom I'll call Emily, how much I love her?


From ACM Opinion

Trump's Budget Wants the US to Stop Watching the Planet

Trump's Budget Wants the US to Stop Watching the Planet

Today, the Trump administration released a proposed budget that called for massive cuts to science research across the federal government.


From ACM Opinion

How Snapchat Is Sending #MeToo Down the Memory Hole

How Snapchat Is Sending #MeToo Down the Memory Hole

If you have something personal or private to communicate, you know where to turn.


From ACM Opinion

Blockchain Explained: It Builds Trust When You Need It Most

Blockchain Explained: It Builds Trust When You Need It Most

These days, we're having a harder and harder time trusting each other.


From ACM Opinion

His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming

His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming

Among the many, many Democrats who will seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020, most probably agree on a handful of core issues: protecting DACA, rejoining the Paris climate agreement, unraveling President Trump's tax…


From ACM Opinion

Computational Propaganda: Bots, Targeting, and the Future

Computational Propaganda: Bots, Targeting, and the Future

A long time ago, when I was working on my Ph.D. research, I learned to use supercomputers to track the complex 3-D motions of gas blown into space by dying stars.


From ACM Opinion

Welcome to the Post-Text Future

Welcome to the Post-Text Future

I'll make this short: The thing you're doing now, reading prose on a screen, is going out of fashion.


From ACM Opinion

Mourning John Perry Barlow, the Bard of the Internet

Mourning John Perry Barlow, the Bard of the Internet

When I first met John Perry Barlow, we became instant soulmates. While that sentence is true for me, it also applies to probably 10,000 other people.


From ACM Opinion

What It's Like to Fly in the Bermuda Triangle of Space

What It's Like to Fly in the Bermuda Triangle of Space

"Before I became an astronaut, I had seen stories of astronauts who had seen white flashes from radiation while they flew in space," says Terry Virts, a former Nasa astronaut.


From ACM Opinion

Your Mobile Phone Can Give Away Your Location, Even If You Tell It Not to

Your Mobile Phone Can Give Away Your Location, Even If You Tell It Not to

U.S. military officials were recently caught off guard by revelations that servicemembers' digital fitness trackers were storing the locations of their workouts—including at or near military bases and clandestine sites around…


From ACM Opinion

Is Tech Dividing America?

Is Tech Dividing America?

When Americans consider how technology has changed their lives, they tend to focus on how the internet and smartphones have altered how they watch TV, connect with friends, or how they shop. But those changes pale in comparison…


From ACM Opinion

Why Cops Won't Need a Warrant to Pull the Data Off Your Autonomous Car

Why Cops Won't Need a Warrant to Pull the Data Off Your Autonomous Car

Lt. Saul Jaeger, who commands the traffic unit at the Mountain View Police Department, remembers the first time a few years ago when he was given a demo of Waymo's self-driving cars.


From ACM Opinion

Our Hackable Political Future

Our Hackable Political Future

Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, "surfaces" video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand.


From ACM Opinion

How to Design a New Chip on a Budget

How to Design a New Chip on a Budget

We recently had an interesting exchange with bunnie Huang, hardware guru and creator of ChumbyNetTV, and the Novena laptop, among other things. He's also the author of Hacking the Xbox, The Essential Guide to Electronics in…


From ACM Opinion

Want Awesome Robots? You'll Have to Best These Challenges

Want Awesome Robots? You'll Have to Best These Challenges

We are living in the midst of a profound technological restructuring of human society. The machines that once only frolicked in science fiction have begun to infiltrate our lives.

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