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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.

July 2018


From ACM Opinion

Weaponized Information Seeks a New Target in Cyberspace: Users' Minds

Weaponized Information Seeks a New Target in Cyberspace: Users' Minds

The Russian attacks on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the country's continuing election-related hacking have happened across all three dimensions of cyberspace—physical, informational, and cognitive.


From ACM Opinion

Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not

Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not

As a Japanese, I grew up watching anime like "Neon Genesis Evangelion," which depicts a future in which machines and humans merge into cyborg ecstasy.


From ACM Opinion

A Conversation With the Only Scientist in Congress

A Conversation With the Only Scientist in Congress

How does it feel to be the only scientist in Congress? Lonely.


From ACM Opinion

How NASA Was Born 60 Years Ago from Panic Over a 'Second Moon'

How NASA Was Born 60 Years Ago from Panic Over a 'Second Moon'

The origins of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration can be traced all the way back to the Wright brothers, but the real story happened over less than a year.


From ACM Opinion

The Ethics of Computer Science: This Researcher Has a Controversial Proposal

The Ethics of Computer Science: This Researcher Has a Controversial Proposal

In the midst of growing public concern over artificial intelligence (AI), privacy and the use of data, Brent Hecht has a controversial proposal: the computer-science community should change its peer-review process to ensure that…


From ACM Opinion

Supreme Court Struggles to Define 'Searches' as Technology Changes

Supreme Court Struggles to Define 'Searches' as Technology Changes

What the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution means when it protects citizens against an unreasonable search by government agents isn't entirely clear.


From ACM Opinion

How Plausible Are All Those Mission: Impossible Gadgets, Anyway?

How Plausible Are All Those Mission: Impossible Gadgets, Anyway?

It's been 22 years since Tom Cruise infiltrated a CIA vault suspended from a wire in the first Mission: Impossible flick.


From ACM Opinion

How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Can Find Out What Trump Told Putin

How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Can Find Out What Trump Told Putin

President Donald Trump's insistence on holding a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin hobbled U.S. intelligence agencies that would usually get an intimate look at such a sit-down, but American spies still…


From ACM Opinion

Want Facebook to Censor Speech? Be Careful What You Wish For

Want Facebook to Censor Speech? Be Careful What You Wish For

The only figure as capable as Donald Trump of spinning up an instant and frantic media cycle these days is Mark Zuckerberg, whose ubiquitous company can't manage not to trend on its own platform.


From ACM Opinion

"I Was Devastated": Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets

"I Was Devastated": Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets

"For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it," Tim Berners-Lee told me one morning in downtown Washington, D.C., about a half-mile from the…


From ACM Opinion

AI Can Be Sexist and Racist; It's Time to Make It Fair

AI Can Be Sexist and Racist; It's Time to Make It Fair

When Google Translate converts news articles written in Spanish into English, phrases referring to women often become "he said" or "he wrote."


From ACM Opinion

Why Did the European Commission Fine Google Five Billion Dollars?

Why Did the European Commission Fine Google Five Billion Dollars?

Acording to some estimates, about eighty-five per cent of the world's smartphones run on Google's Android operating system.


From ACM Opinion

How to Tell If You're Talking to a Bot

How to Tell If You're Talking to a Bot

Twitter recently took drastic action as part of an effort to slow the spread of misinformation through its platform, shutting down more than two million automated accounts, or bots.


From ACM Opinion

Microprocessor Designers Realize Security Must Be a Primary Concern

Microprocessor Designers Realize Security Must Be a Primary Concern

Computers' amazing abilities to entertain people, help them work, and even respond to voice commands are, at their heart, the results of decades of technological development and innovation in microprocessor design.


From ACM Opinion

How to Combat China's Rise in Tech: Federal Spending, Not Tariffs

How to Combat China's Rise in Tech: Federal Spending, Not Tariffs

At the heart of the trade war between the United States and China lies a profound and unsettling question: Who should control the key technologies that will rule tomorrow?


From ACM Opinion

Darpa Plans a Major Remake of U.S. Electronics

Darpa Plans a Major Remake of U.S. Electronics

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching a huge expansion of its Electronics Resurgence Initiative, boosting the program to US $1.5 billion over five years.


From ACM Opinion

Looking Through the Eyes of China's Surveillance State

Looking Through the Eyes of China's Surveillance State

They perch on poles and glare from streetlamps. Some hang barely visible in the ceiling of the subway, and others seem to stretch out on braced necks and peer into your eyes.


From ACM Opinion

Trump-Putin Summit Mystery: What About Snowden?

 Trump-Putin Summit Mystery: What About Snowden?

As President Donald Trump prepares to meet Vladimir Putin on Monday, lawmakers from both parties want him to demand that the Russian president hand over 12 hackers newly indicted for sabotaging the 2016 election. That's unlikely…


From ACM Opinion

Alexa: Don't Let My 2-Year-Old Talk to You That Way

Alexa: Don't Let My 2-Year-Old Talk to You That Way

Parents, your child may have a new secret friend: your smart speaker.


From ACM Opinion

We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in the Air.

We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in the Air.

Smartphones were once the best thing to happen to the tech industry—and for a while, it seemed, to all of us, too.


From ACM Opinion

A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns

A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns

Five years ago, 25-year-old radical libertarian Cody Wilson stood on a remote central Texas gun range and pulled the trigger on the world's first fully 3-D-printed gun.


From ACM Opinion

Don Eyles: Space Hacker

Don Eyles: Space Hacker

In the early hours of 5 February 1971, Don Eyles had a big problem: Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were orbiting the moon, preparing to land, but it looked like they were going to have to come home without…


From ACM Opinion

The US May Have Just Pulled Even with China in the Race to Build Supercomputing's Next Big Thing

The US May Have Just Pulled Even with China in the Race to Build Supercomputing's Next Big Thing

There was much celebrating in America last month when the US Department of Energy unveiled Summit, the world's fastest supercomputer. Now the race is on to achieve the next significant milestone in processing power: exascale …


From ACM Opinion

What Trump's Pick of Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Means for Tech

What Trump's Pick of Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Means for Tech

President Trump has made his Supreme Court justice pick: Judge Brett Kavanaugh.


From ACM Opinion

What Was on a USB Fan Given at the Trump-Kim Summit? Security Experts Say Nothing, but Don't Plug It In.

What Was on a USB Fan Given at the Trump-Kim Summit? Security Experts Say Nothing, but Don't Plug It In.

When journalists arrived in Singapore for the historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, security experts were alarmed by what awaited those who were covering the event.


From ACM Opinion

How We Proved Einstein Right on a Galactic Scale, and What It Means for Dark Energy and Dark Matter

How We Proved Einstein Right on a Galactic Scale, and What It Means for Dark Energy and Dark Matter

Gravity may be the weakest of the fundamental forces in nature, but it is ultimately what enabled life on Earth to evolve.


From ACM Opinion

Senior Scientist Argues that We Should Bypass Europa for Enceladus

Senior Scientist Argues that We Should Bypass Europa for Enceladus

In its quest to find extant life in the Solar System, NASA has focused its gaze on the Jovian moon Europa, home to what is likely the largest ocean known to humans.


From ACM Opinion

Article 13: Europe's Hotly Debated Revamp of Copyright Law, Explained

Article 13: Europe's Hotly Debated Revamp of Copyright Law, Explained

First they came for the privacy violations, then they came for the memes.


From ACM Opinion

Why Made in China 2025 Will Succeed, Despite Trump

Why Made in China 2025 Will Succeed, Despite Trump

China will succeed in building a powerful technology industry that will rival the United States, even if President Trump starts a trade war to stop it.


From ACM Opinion

Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here's What You Can Do About Them

Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here's What You Can Do About Them

Remember when phone calls meant people wanted to talk to you about something other than lowering your interest rates?

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Science fiction like Frankenstein nudges readers to confer humanity but nudges them away from moral fortitude.

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