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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.

May 2012


From ACM Opinion

Steve Blank Believes Social Might be Killing Silicon Valley

Steve Blank Believes Social Might be Killing Silicon Valley

Amid the buildup to the Facebook IPO, serial entrepreneur Steve Blank was sounding an ominous warning to anyone who would listen.


From ACM Opinion

Augmented Reality Offers a New Layer of Intrigue

If you ever come across a photograph of communist-era East Berlin, or modern Pyongyang in North Korea, the cityscapes look drab and featureless. Billboards, advertising hoardings, neon signs, shopfronts, and graffiti are conspicuous…


From ACM Opinion

Craig Venter Wants to Solve the World's Energy Crisis

Craig Venter Wants to Solve the World's Energy Crisis

There is one version of Craig Venter's life story where he would’ve been a dutiful scientist at the National Institutes of Health, a respected yet anonymous researcher in genetics, perhaps.


From ACM Opinion

Apple's Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms

Apple's Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms

Two weeks ago, Steve Wozniak made a public call for Apple to open its platforms for those who wish to tinker, tweak and innovate with their internals. EFF supports Wozniak's position...


From ACM Opinion

What Fearmongers Get Wrong About Cyberwarfare

What Fearmongers Get Wrong About Cyberwarfare

Should we worry about cyberwarfare? Judging by excessively dramatic headlines in the media, very much so. Cyberwarfare, the argument goes, might make wars easier to start and thus more likely.


From ACM Opinion

What's the Meaning of This: Flame Malware

From all indications, it would appear that attackers are continuing to attack and malware authors are carrying on writing malware.


From ACM Opinion

Human Evolution Isn't What It Used to Be

Human Evolution Isn't What It Used to Be

If you write about genetics and evolution, one of the commonest questions you are likely to be asked at public events is whether human evolution has stopped.


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Brilliant Disaster

So I guess you've heard about the recent initial public offering that didn't turn out the way it was supposed to. The company's Wall Street advisers misjudged the market, and, on its first day of trading, the stock went a little…


From ACM Opinion

The Remote Control as Subversive Technology

The Remote Control as Subversive Technology

Television began as a box.


From ACM Opinion

Jonathan Ive: Simplicity Isn't Simple

Jonathan Ive: Simplicity Isn't Simple

"Design is a word that's come to mean so much that it's also a word that has come to mean nothing. We don't really talk about design, we talk about developing ideas and making products," says Jonathan Ive, the London-born head…


From ACM Opinion

Can Facebook 'Monetize Eyeballs?'

Can Facebook 'Monetize Eyeballs?'

In the days of the Internet bubble of the mid to late 1990s, companies received millions of dollars of venture capital to offer products that weren't especially good—but were free.


From ACM Careers

Daniela Rus Named CSAIL Director

Daniela Rus Named CSAIL Director

Daniela Rus, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been named the next director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), effective May 23.


From ACM Opinion

The Facebook Fallacy

The Facebook Fallacy

Facebook is not only on course to go bust, but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.


From ACM Opinion

Why GM and Others Fail with Facebook Ads

Why GM and Others Fail with Facebook Ads

Facebook got a black eye last week when General Motors announced it would cease advertising on the platform, yanking $10 million in annual ad spending away from Mark Zuckerberg just days before the company's IPO. The move caused…


From ACM Opinion

'Barcode Everyone at Birth'

'Barcode Everyone at Birth'

If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached—a barcode if you will—an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Internet Makes It Impossible to Stop Giant Wall Street Losses

Why the Internet Makes It Impossible to Stop Giant Wall Street Losses

In 1984, Yale sociologist Charles Perrow published his classic book, Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. The odd term, "normal accident," Perrow wrote, is meant to signal that, given a system's characteristics…


From ACM Opinion

Meet the Man Who Invented the Instructions for the Internet

Meet the Man Who Invented the Instructions for the Internet

Steve Crocker was there when the Internet was born.


From ACM Careers

Bre Pettis: 3D Printing's First Celebrity

Bre Pettis: 3D Printing's First Celebrity

Bre Pettis looks like a throwback. He’s got an Elvis Presley-meets-Buddy Holly thing going on with his chunky sideburns, thick-rimmed black glasses, and sculpted salt-and-pepper hair. He talks a bit yesteryear, too, in that he’s…


From ACM Opinion

What Does Facebook's $100 Billion IPO Mean for You?

What Does Facebook's $100 Billion IPO Mean for You?

More ads.


From ACM Opinion

Intel Futurist on Why We Should Not Fear the Future

Intel Futurist on Why We Should Not Fear the Future

Much of Intel's success as a microprocessor manufacturer over the past four decades has come from the company's ability to understand and anticipate the future of technology.


From ACM Opinion

Machines Shouldn't Grade Student Writing

Machines Shouldn't Grade Student Writing

In 2002, Indiana rolled out computer scoring of its 11th grade state writing exam.


From ACM Opinion

First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Search Results

Google commissioned me to write this White Paper ("First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Search Results"), so I thought I’d pass it along. I wrote the paper as an advocate, and not as a disinterested academic, but I hope…


From ACM Opinion

Beware the Creeping Cracks of Bias

Alarming cracks are starting to penetrate deep into the scientific edifice. They threaten the status of science and its value to society. And they cannot be blamed on the usual suspects—inadequate funding, misconduct, political…


From ACM Opinion

Thomas Sterling: 'I Think We Will Never Reach Zettaflops'

Thomas Sterling: 'I Think We Will Never Reach Zettaflops'

As supercomputing makes its way through the petascale era, the future of the technology has never seemed so uncertain.


From ACM Careers

Why Do Our Best and Brightest End Up in Silicon Valley and Not D.C.?

Why Do Our Best and Brightest End Up in Silicon Valley and Not D.C.?

Recently I visited one of the primary ventricles of Silicon Valley's investment culture, Google Ventures.


From ACM News

The Giants Among Us

The patent world is quietly undergoing a change of seismic proportions. In a few short years, a handful of entities have amassed vast treasuries of patents on an unprecedented scale.


From ACM Opinion

Now 4 Billion People Know the Joy of Txt

Now 4 Billion People Know the Joy of Txt

Here's a question: What's bigger and far more important than Facebook? Hint: it's very low-tech and doesn't need a smartphone or even an Internet connection.


From ACM News

How Steve Jobs Revolutionized Business

How Steve Jobs Revolutionized Business

It is ironic that Steve Jobs, the man who focused on building consumer-friendly devices such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, is also radically reshaping the business world.  


From ACM Opinion

U.N. Efforts Put Internet Freedom at Risk

U.N. Efforts Put Internet Freedom at Risk

A mounting effort to transform a United Nations agency into a global Internet regulator is threatening to undo decades of policymaking that helped the Internet evolve into the open, global medium we all depend on.


From ACM Careers

5 Questions with the Creator of the First iPad-Made iOS Game

5 Questions with the Creator of the First iPad-Made iOS Game

Rui Viana isn't a full-time app developer and he hasn't learned how to use Apple's iOS software development kit.

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