The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Shortly before the dreadful crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, I happened to be reading part of "The Second Machine Age," a book by two academics at M.I.T., Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, about the coming automation of many…
Data science is not entirely new to Washington, D.C.—nor is DJ Patil, who was recently named as the U.S.'s first chief data scientist.
"Dear subscriber, you have been registered as a participant in a mass disturbance."
For the past year or so genetic scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been collaborating with a specialist from another universe: Daniel Kohn, a Brooklyn-based painter and conceptual artist.
Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer turned 40 last month. He (just barely) blew out a row of 40 candles during a mini-celebration at company headquarters, and Mark Zuckerberg posted a video to, yes, Facebook.
Tim Cook assumed he was ready for the harsh glare that shines on Apple's CEO.
Governments and corporations gather, store, and analyze the tremendous amount of data we chuff out as we move through our digitized lives.
As we approach the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, many of us here in Massachusetts and beyond are riveted by the ongoing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Imagine, for a moment, that every Web search gave only accurate, verified information.
The Wellcome Trust has announced the 20 winners of its 2015 Image Awards for medical science images. Here are our favourites.
Herbert Simon, the Nobel-prize winning economist, was a techno-enthusiast. In 1956 he predicted that, "within 10 years, computers would beat the world chess champion, compose 'aesthetically satisfying' original music, and prove…
On October 16, 2011, the early evening weather on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, was almost unspeakably gorgeous—mild as a warm bath, a cloudless sky above, a full moon beaming benevolently on the 300…
The N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament started Thursday, but for most Americans the real action began days before, as they pored over brackets, competing to make the most accurate predictions—for money, or just office glory…
I've seen two competing visions for a future in which virtual objects are merged seamlessly with the real world.
In public, companies try to trot out any hint of a success story—real or imagined. At SXSW this week, Google took a different tack: It talked all about its failures.
DJ Patil was recently named the White House's deputy chief technology officer for data policy and chief data scientist, making him the first-ever national data scientist. DJ even coined the term "data scientist" back in 2008.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a highlight of last year's SXSW, where he gave one of his first public speeches. This year, Snowden was back at SXSW—but only a few people even knew it was happening.
Why use online games to study our responses to catastrophic events?
Convincing people to have a romantic relationship with a computer might be easier than it sounds.
Social networks offer an incredible tool for tapping into the collective unconscious, a virtual Jungian arena in which competition might be expected to amplify the critical values and anxieties of millions of people in real time…
More than half of Americans are worried about the U.S. government's digital spies prying into their emails, texts, search requests and other online information, but few are trying to thwart the surveillance.
Search for "vaccines." At least within our filter bubble, the top item in Google's "In the news" section earlier this week was an anti-vax column about the "feds' plan to force vaccines on adults."
Possibly not everyone knows that March 14th is Pi Day, in honor of the symbol used to denote the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
The book chronicles how governments and corporation have built an unprecedented surveillance state.
I still measure every first-person shooter that's released today against the two decades-old Doom, or, more accurately, my memory of playing it as a tween.
"Chappie," the highest-grossing movie in America last weekend, is, to put it mildly, not a great film; the critics have given it a twenty-nine on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is nowhere near as original as "District 9," an earlier…
It is thought that studies involving the use of genome-editing tools to modify the DNA of human embryos will be published shortly.
The Internet is unbreakable. At least, we think it is.
It was the smell that hit me first, a heady mixture of roasting meat, woodsmoke, and farmyard manure.
As far as we know, only three or four original specimens of the Roman hand abacus have survived.
We don't experience program loops as blocks, started over, because time is one-way.