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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

September 2011


From ACM Opinion

Will Robots Steal Your Job?

If you're taking a break from work to read this article, I've got one question for you: Are you crazy? I know you think no one will notice, and I know that everyone else does it.


From ACM Opinion

Big Progress on the Little Things

In the trenches of consumer technology, there’s plenty to complain about. Today's cell-phone contracts are exorbitant and illogical (why has the price of a text message doubled in three years?). Those 15-second voicemail instructions…


From ACM Opinion

A Google Monopoly Isn't the Point

Even if the Justice Dept. were to establish that Google is a monopoly, it would be hard for anyone to prove that the company's free services have injured consumers.


From ACM Opinion

The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down the Internet

The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down the Internet

For the past three years, a highly encrypted computer worm called Conficker has been spreading rapidly around the world. As many as 12 million computers have been infected with the self-updating worm, a type of malware that…


From ACM Opinion

All About the Design Genius Who Gestated Facebook's Overhaul

All About the Design Genius Who Gestated Facebook's Overhaul

A conversation with Nicholas Felton shows how Facebook's new apps will uncover uncomfortable truths about users—and how the same data could enable entirely new kinds of targeted advertising.


From ACM News

Security Expert: U.S. 'Leading Force' Behind Stuxnet

Security Expert: U.S. 'Leading Force' Behind Stuxnet

German cybersecurity expert Ralph Langner warns that U.S. utility companies are not yet prepared to deal with the threat presented by the Stuxnet computer worm, which he says the U.S. developed.


From ACM Opinion

Gov. Brown: Sign Bill Outlawing Warrantless Smartphone Searches

There’s a bill sitting on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, which if signed would ban police from searching the mobile devices of people arrested for a crime.


From ACM Opinion

Yes, Google Really Should Worry About Facebook

The algorithm is the key to success. That's how Google replaced Yahoo as the Web's best search engine in 1998. Google became the font of the online world's information by both finding more information online than any other…


From ACM Opinion

Not Sharing Is Caring

Not Sharing Is Caring

Mark Zuckerberg wants you to share. He doesn't much care if you want to share. Sharing, in Zuckerberg's view, has morphed from an affirmative act—that video was hilarious, I think I'll Like it!—to something more like an unconscious…


From ACM Opinion

Google Searching for New Ideas

Google Searching for New Ideas

If anyone can preview the future of computing, it should be Alfred Spector, Google's director of research. Spector's team focuses on the most challenging areas of computer science research with the intention of shaping Google's…


From ACM Opinion

Vint Cerf: Facebook Could be Next AOL or IBM

Vint Cerf, Google's chief internet evangelist, and the man who designed a key building block of the Internet, warned that Facebook's "closed" architecture meant it was at risk of eventually failing to keep up with the public…


From ACM Opinion

Neal Stephenson Talks Video Games, the Metaverse, and His New Book, REAMDE

Neal Stephenson Talks Video Games, the Metaverse, and His New Book, REAMDE

Neal Stephenson is known for writing big books about big ideas. In Cryptonomicon, he tackled code breaking and data privacy; the three-volume Baroque Cycle explored the birth of modern economic systems.


From ACM Opinion

Life in the Age of Extremes

The Internet causes connections to multiply and strengthen, creating a frenzy of positive feedback, which can drive people apart—not together.


From ACM Opinion

Trouble on the High Seas for MySQL?

Trouble on the High Seas for MySQL?

Last week, Oracle quietly announced the addition of three new commercial extensions to MySQL Enterprise Edition, the proprietary flavor of the dual-licensed MySQL database.

From a technical point of view alone, these extensions…


From ACM Opinion

Tech Provides Map for Nation's Future

Tech Provides Map for Nation's Future

As President Barack Obama and Congress roll up their collective sleeves in an effort to jump-start our nation's struggling economy and cut the burgeoning federal deficit, many in Washington are seeking common policy ground…


From ACM News

The America Invents Act and the Individual Inventor

Much has been said about how the newly passed patent reform legislation, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, benefits large corporations. While that argument certainly can be made, Congress did not forget the individual inventor…


From ACM News

Microsoft

Microsoft

Reading my RSS and Twitter feeds Tuesday night, I turned to a tech writer friend and said, "the Wintel Era just ended, and half of these people are fighting over whether demo tablets should have fans."


From ACM Opinion

Protect Our Right to Anonymity

In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could redefine the scope of privacy in an age of increasingly ubiquitous surveillance technologies like GPS devices and face-recognition software.


From ACM Opinion

PayPal Founders: Innovation Is Dead

PayPal Founders: Innovation Is Dead

Max Levchin and Peter Thiel are not ones to mince words: "Innovation in this country is somewhere between dire straits and dead," Levchin said at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference this week.


From ACM Opinion

How 9/11 Completely Changed Surveillance in U.S.

How 9/11 Completely Changed Surveillance in U.S.

Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein handed a sheaf of papers in January 2006 to lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, providing smoking-gun evidence that the National Security Agency, with the cooperation of AT&T, was…


From ACM Opinion

What Became of Multi-Core Programming Problems?

What Became of Multi-Core Programming Problems?

As the Intel Developer Forum gets under way this week, one hardly unexpected theme of CEO Paul Otellini's keynote address was that Moore's Law continues. Ivy Bridge, Intel's upcoming 22-nanometer processor platform, is slated…


From ACM Opinion

Texting Makes U Stupid

The good news is that today's teenagers are avid readers and prolific writers. The bad news is that what they are reading and writing are text messages.


From ACM TechNews

Linux Foundation Chief Talks About Torvalds' Leadership, HTML5 and Mobile's Future

Linux Foundation Chief Talks About Torvalds' Leadership, HTML5 and Mobile's Future

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin says in an interview that the desktop platform's relevance is diminishing as technologies such as smartphones, connected TVs, and in-vehicle infotainment grow. 


From ACM News

Can Brain Research Keep Us Safe?

Can Brain Research Keep Us Safe?

Human conflict is often associated with the emergence of a new science or technology. The Civil War's Gatling gun changed battlefield tactics and led to modern machine guns, like the M61, that are still in use. World War I's…


From ACM News

Bike Crash Wiped Details; GPS Data Filled Them In

Bike Crash Wiped Details; GPS Data Filled Them In

After racing and biking back roads on the San Francisco Peninsula for almost half a century without serious incident, on July 3 I crashed while riding downhill at more than 30 miles an hour.


From ACM Opinion

Post-9/11, NSA 'Enemies' Include Us

Somewhere between Sept. 11 and today, the enemy morphed from a handful of terrorists to the American population at large, leaving us nowhere to run and no place to hide.


From ACM Opinion

Internet Memes 101: A Guide to Online Wackiness

In the olden days, it was simple to keep up with pop culture. There were only three channels on TV, and everybody saw the same shows at the same time.


From ACM Opinion

Howard Stern Calls Out Rick Perry for His Anti-Science Views

Howard Stern Calls Out Rick Perry for His Anti-Science Views

No shortage of articles have been published about the deep distrust exhibited by most 2012 Republican presidential candidates toward specific scientific findings—notably evolution and climate change—as well as in some cases…


From ACM Opinion

A Cloud Over Ownership

Online services set content free from the physical world's constraints—including those that have defined the very idea of possession.


From ACM News

CAPTCHA Talks Back

What if CAPTCHA messed with you even more than it already does?

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