The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Proponents of autonomous vehicles are in a sticky situation.
In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, the world's largest pirate website for scholarly literature, to access research papers. Who are Sci-Hub's users, where are they, and what are they reading…
The web is too damn slow.
A couple of weeks ago the world heard about the most seriously funded (and perhaps the most serious) effort yet for starting us on the pathway to interstellar travel.
It is early morning on Brighton beach, and we are sitting on a slope of pebbles, looking out to sea.
Two years ago, at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, I witnessed David Edwards receive what he claimed was the world's first transatlantic scent message—a soupçon of champagne and passion-fruit macarons, dispatched…
The Pacific Northwest tree octopus existed years before Wikipedia was founded. I’m using "existed" loosely here, of course, because there's no such thing as a Pacific Northwest tree octopus.
Quantum-computer whiz riffs on simulated universes, the Singularity, unified theories, P/NP, the mind-body problem, free will, why there's something rather than nothing, and more.
It's been a rough few months for Google in Europe.
The Edward Snowden leaks have accelerated the sophistication of encryption technologies by "about seven years," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told reporters this morning.
Scott Aaronson has one of the highest intelligence/pretension ratios I’ve ever encountered.
Pentagon officials have publicly said, in recent weeks, that they're hitting ISIS not only with bullets and bombs but also with cyberoffensive operations.
Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, tells of growing up, discovering computers in the Netherlands, creating one of the world's most popular programming languages, and landing at Dropbox in San Francisco.
Valentine's Day was a bummer in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, one of Google's self-driving cars, a modified Lexus SUV, caused a crash.
About a year ago, Apple announced and released its first Apple Watch. The long-rumored product was Apple’s first all-new product category since the iPad and its first under CEO Tim Cook. To say that expectations were high would…
Many think author, inventor and data scientist Ray Kurzweil is a prophet for our digital age. A few say he's completely nuts.
Last month, WhatsApp, the hugely popular messaging service that Facebook owns, made end-to-end encryption the default for its 1 billion users. On Tuesday, Viber said it will do the same for the 700 million people who use it.
In 2011, developer and researcher Alexandra Elbakyan launched Sci-Hub, an online archive that shares research articles freely and openly without paywalls or restrictions.
Many newspapers and online media companies have begun disabling comment sections because of widespread abuse and obscenity.
Mark Zuckerberg was once the boy king of Silicon Valley. Now he wants to be the bot king of Silicon Valley.
If you thought the battle over net neutrality ended when the Federal Communications Commission slapped a series of unprecedented rules on Internet providers last year, think again.
Sometimes it seems the Internet is, at its core, a tremendous nostalgia machine.
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016; draft legislation which reinforces that all entities…
I'm the first quadriplegic person in the world to use my own thoughts to control my own arm. It's a pretty neat experience.
A heavily rusted cast iron ring sits on a bookshelf inside a neoclassical church a few blocks north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The ring is about an inch deep and as wide as a sheet of paper, and, according to its description…
Almost 25 years ago, physicists discovered a way of 'teleporting' a quantum system from one place to another without moving it.
It takes at least a master's degree to fully understand synthetic biology, but grasping its importance requires far less.
Should you always do what other people tell you to do?
FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement. But it was an offhand remark during the Q&A session at Kenyon College that…
Two weeks ago, privacy advocates across the country celebrated as the Federal Bureau of Investigation backed off its request for Apple to help gain access into the iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the terrorists who killed 14 people…
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.