The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
About five years ago, Ari Popper enrolled in a course on science-fiction writing at the University of California, Los Angeles, hoping to distract himself from the boredom of his day job as the president of a market-research company…
When software gets smarter, the first effect is to empower the already powerful.
Scientists in Portland, Ore., just succeeded in creating the first genetically modified human embryo in the United States, according to Technology Review.
On Nov. 16, 1974, a few hundred astronomers, government officials and other dignitaries gathered in the tropical forests of Puerto Rico's northwest interior, a four-hour drive from San Juan.
On May 16, three months' worth of data vanished quietly from the website of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Back in 2015, a group of business leaders and scientists published an "open letter" about how controlling artificial superintelligence might be the most urgent task of the twenty-first century.
Imagine you are a policymaker who needs to know how much carbon is stored in the South American forest.
As the rate of cybercrime increases, so too does the intensity of those attacks.
After decades in the wilderness, AI has swaggered back onto center stage.
A BBC headline last week, 'First object teleported to Earth's orbit', has to be one of the most fantastical you'll see this year. For once, it seems the future that science fiction promised has arrived! Or has it?
Chinese government leaders, subtle masters of propaganda, seem to have discovered a Sun Tzu formula for taming dissent on the Internet: The best strategy may not be to confront critics directly, but to lull or distract them with…
There is an old debate (at least, counting in internet years) that tends to crop up after major cybersecurity breaches such as the widespread WannaCry ransomware attack in May.
In 1899, the world's most powerful nations signed a treaty at The Hague that banned military use of aircraft, fearing the emerging technology's destructive power.
Every moment of your waking life and whenever you dream, you have the distinct inner feeling of being "you."
Campaigns to manipulate public opinion through false or misleading social media postings have become standard political practice across much of the world, with information ministries, specialized military units and political …
In recent days, our nation's response to the continued threat of foreign meddling in American elections has taken something of a surprising turn.
When science fiction writers first imagined robot invasions, the idea was that bots would become smart and powerful enough to take over the world by force, whether on their own or as directed by some evildoer.
The US mathematician and electrical engineer Claude Shannon, whose life spanned the tumultuous, technologically explosive twentieth century, is often called the father of information theory.
In the months since Donald Trump took office, Washington has been leaking like a sieve.
Don't worry. The robots won't destroy all our jobs. History suggests just the opposite—that new technologies inspire new jobs.
As recent high school graduates prepare for their migration to college in the fall, one item is sure to top most students' shopping wish lists: a laptop computer.
Back in 1980, Milton Friedman, the University of Chicago economist, starred in a public-television series called "Free to Choose," in which he presented his free-market ideas and, famously, told a young man that everything he…
How do you stop a robot from hurting people?
We need new tools that let everyone see, understand, and remix today's web. We need, in other words, to reboot the culture of View Source.
Nothing connected to the internet is safe from hackers. And I mean nothing.
President Donald Trump reportedly spends his nights alone in the White House, watching TV news and yelling at the screen.
"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee; Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow; Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me."
How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Choe Sang-Hun, The Times's Korea correspondent who is based in Seoul, discusses the tech he's using.
Google and Facebook are household names around the world. Baidu? Not yet. Ya-Qin Zhang, president of China's leading search business, says Chinese companies can become worldwide Internet powerhouses too.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," said an exasperated James Comey in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8. Comey's desire reflects a familiar one for individuals accused of lying when the stakes are…
How should software engineers try to classify their reflections?
To game a programmed system means thwarting non-programmed intention.
The ambitious systems that we develop today need a proper requirements structure. The plan defined here organizes requirements specification along …