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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 2018


From ACM Opinion

The 'Golden Age of Electronic Surveillance' Is Ending, Says Former NSA and CIA Chief Michael Hayden 

The 'Golden Age of Electronic Surveillance' Is Ending, Says Former NSA and CIA Chief Michael Hayden 

At America's intelligence agencies, there are three ways to "steal secrets," says former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden: Humans, signals and imagery.


From ACM Opinion

Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore

Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore

The telephone swept into Americans' lives in the first decades of the 20th century.


From ACM Opinion

How Close Are We, Really, to Building a Quantum Computer?

How Close Are We, Really, to Building a Quantum Computer?

The race is on to build the world's first meaningful quantum computer—one that can deliver the technology's long-promised ability to help scientists do things like develop miraculous new materials, encrypt data with near-perfect…


From ACM Opinion

How Wired Lost $100,000 in Bitcoin

How Wired Lost $100,000 in Bitcoin

Back in 2013, when you could still mine bitcoins at home, Wired was sent a small, sleek mining device manufactured by the now-defunct Butterfly Labs.


From ACM Opinion

The G.D.P.R., Europe's New Privacy Law, and the Future of the Global Data Economy

The G.D.P.R., Europe's New Privacy Law, and the Future of the Global Data Economy

They're curious messengers, these ants in your in-box.


From ACM Opinion

Before Reproducibility Must Come Preproducibility

Before Reproducibility Must Come Preproducibility

From time to time over the past few years, I've politely refused requests to referee an article on the grounds that it lacks enough information for me to check the work. This can be a hard thing to explain.


From ACM Opinion

Europe's New Data Protections Will Affect You Too. Here's How.

Europe's New Data Protections Will Affect You Too. Here's How.

Starting tomorrow, a new framework for consumer data protection goes into effect in Europe.


From ACM Opinion

Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them.

Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them.

You have probably noticed a flood of emails and alerts from companies in the past few weeks informing you about changes to their privacy policies.


From ACM Opinion

Silicon Valley Must Consider Tech Ethics, DeepMind Chief Says

Silicon Valley Must Consider Tech Ethics, DeepMind Chief Says

Big technology companies must rethink the way they develop products and services to put ethical considerations in the forefront, DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman said.


From ACM Opinion

What Are These 'Levels' of Autonomous Vehicles?

What Are These 'Levels' of Autonomous Vehicles?

As automated and autonomous vehicles become more common on U.S. roads, it's worth a look at what these machines can—and can't—do.


From ACM Opinion

Automated Health Care Offers Freedom from Shame, But Is It What Patients Need?

Automated Health Care Offers Freedom from Shame, But Is It What Patients Need?

A few years ago, Timothy Bickmore, a computer scientist at Northeastern University, developed an artificial-intelligence program to help low-income patients at Boston Medical Center prepare for their return home from the hospital…


From ACM Opinion

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect

Artificial intelligence owes a lot of its smarts to Judea Pearl.


From ACM Opinion

So, Umm, Google Duplex's Chatter Is Not Quite Human

So, Umm, Google Duplex's Chatter Is Not Quite Human

Google's Duplex voice assistant drew applause last week at the company's annual I/O developer conference after CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the artificially intelligent technology autonomously booking a hair salon appointment…


From ACM Opinion

How Tech Can Turn Doctors Into Clerical Workers

How Tech Can Turn Doctors Into Clerical Workers

There are times when the diagnosis announces itself as the patient walks in, because the body is, among other things, a text.


From ACM News

Apple and Its Rivals Bet Their Futures on These Men's Dreams

Apple and Its Rivals Bet Their Futures on These Men's Dreams

Over the past five years, artificial intelligence has gone from perennial vaporware to one of the technology industry's brightest hopes.


From ACM Opinion

I Tried to Get an AI to Write This Story

I Tried to Get an AI to Write This Story

What a time for artificial intelligence!


From ACM Opinion

Europe's Data Protection Law Is a Big, Confusing Mess

Europe's Data Protection Law Is a Big, Confusing Mess

There is a growing realization that our data is under attack.


From ACM Opinion

How the Enlightenment Ends

How the Enlightenment Ends

Three years ago, at a conference on transatlantic issues, the subject of artificial intelligence appeared on the agenda. I was on the verge of skipping that session—it lay outside my usual concerns—but the beginning of the presentation…


From ACM Opinion

How Fortnite Captured Teens' Hearts and Minds

How Fortnite Captured Teens' Hearts and Minds

It was getting late in Tomato Town. The storm was closing in, and meteors pelted the ground.


From ACM Opinion

The Data Scientist Helping to Create Ethical Robots

The Data Scientist Helping to Create Ethical Robots

As the lead statistician at the nonprofit Human Rights Data Analysis Group, Kristian Lum, 33, is trying to make sure the algorithms increasingly controlling our lives are as fair as possible.


From ACM Opinion

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Find Alien Intelligence?

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Find Alien Intelligence?

In the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), we've often looked for signs of intelligence, technology and communication that are similar to our own.


From ACM Opinion

The Singularity Is Not Near: The Intellectual Fraud of the 'Singularitarians'

The Singularity Is Not Near: The Intellectual Fraud of the 'Singularitarians'

Technology was identified as the true official religion of the modern state more than seventy years ago by the late Christian anarchist philosopher Jacques Ellul.


From ACM Opinion

The Next Big Discovery in Astronomy? Scientists Probably Found It Years Ago, But They Don't Know It Yet

The Next Big Discovery in Astronomy? Scientists Probably Found It Years Ago, But They Don't Know It Yet

Earlier this year, astronomers stumbled upon a fascinating finding: Thousands of black holes likely exist near the center of our galaxy.


From ACM Opinion

Facial Recognition Tech Is Creepy When It Works, And Creepier When It Doesn't

Facial Recognition Tech Is Creepy When It Works, And Creepier When It Doesn't

For the last few years, police forces around China have invested heavily to build the world's largest video surveillance and facial recognition system, incorporating more than 170 million cameras so far.


From ACM Opinion

Free Will, Video Games, and the Most Profound Quantum Mystery

Free Will, Video Games, and the Most Profound Quantum Mystery

The word "predictable" first entered the English language two centuries ago.


From ACM Opinion

'2001: A Space Odyssey' Is Still the 'Ultimate Trip'

'2001: A Space Odyssey' Is Still the 'Ultimate Trip'

In the spring of 1964 the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was very worried. NASA was about to fly the Mariner 4 space probe past Mars.


From ACM Opinion

Richard Feynman at 100

Richard Feynman at 100

A pre-eminent twentieth-century physicist and a Nobel laureate: Richard Feynman was certainly those. He was also much more.


From ACM Opinion

In Washington, a Brighter Spotlight on Technology

In Washington, a Brighter Spotlight on Technology

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Cecilia Kang, a technology reporter based in Washington, discussed the tech she's using.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Duplex Could Make Assistant the Most Lifelike AI Yet

Google's Duplex Could Make Assistant the Most Lifelike AI Yet

The conversation seems mundane. At least, at first.


From ACM Opinion

How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.?

How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.?

Precisely how and when will our curiosity kill us?

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