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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.

September 2013


From ACM Opinion

How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them

How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them

I like to think of my Roomba as cute and industrious.


From ACM Opinion

If 'e.t.' Finds Voyager 1, Will It Phone Earth?

If 'e.t.' Finds Voyager 1, Will It Phone Earth?

In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan launched the expedition that completed the first circumnavigation of the globe. And so humanity learned the full extent of its world.


From ACM Opinion

Grand Theft Auto V Lives ­p to Hype, Steals Its Car, Sets House on Fire

Grand Theft Auto V Lives ­p to Hype, Steals Its Car, Sets House on Fire

I'm trying to put into words how difficult a situation it is attempting to summarize my thoughts on a game that I've only been playing for two weeks when I know in the back of my mind Rockstar Games has been hard at work on Grand…


From ACM Opinion

The Message Voyager 1 Carries For Alien Civilizations

The Message Voyager 1 Carries For Alien Civilizations

The year was 1977.


From ACM Opinion

Grand Theft Auto 5: Inside the Creative Process with Dan Houser

Grand Theft Auto 5: Inside the Creative Process with Dan Houser

We're four days away now. After a year of pre-publicity and a five-year wait since GTA IV, the latest instalment in Rockstar's gangland opus is almost upon us.


From ACM Opinion

Trigger Finger: Apple Fires Biometrics Into the Mainstream

Trigger Finger: Apple Fires Biometrics Into the Mainstream

By adding a fingerprint scanner to its newest mobile phone, Apple Inc. is offering a tantalizing glimpse of a future where your favorite gadget might become a biometric pass to the workplace, mobile commerce or real-world shopping…


From ACM Opinion

The Real Reasons Apple's 64-Bit A7 Chip Makes Sense

The Real Reasons Apple's 64-Bit A7 Chip Makes Sense

Apple injected a lot of marketing hyperbole into its claims about the wonders of 64-bit computing when it showed off the A7 processor at the heart of the new iPhone 5S. But there are real long-term reasons that Apple is smart…


From ACM Opinion

VCs Doerr and Khosla on Gov't Snooping: It's a Tradeoff

VCs Doerr and Khosla on Gov't Snooping: It's a Tradeoff

Two of the most influential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, weighed in on the current controversy government surveillance, contending it was a necessary price to pay to ensure the nation's…


From ACM Opinion

How Facebook Makes ­s ­nhappy

How Facebook Makes ­s ­nhappy

No one joins Facebook to be sad and lonely.


From ACM Opinion

How Startup Culture Is Killing Innovation

How Startup Culture Is Killing Innovation

Far from being the measure of disgrace it once was, failure now seems to be a sort of badge of honor. Somewhere along the way, it got to be uncool to reduce one's risk of failure.


From ACM Opinion

Google Security Exec: 'passwords Are Dead'

Google Security Exec: 'passwords Are Dead'

New startups looking for ways to keep their users secure should know one thing, a top Google security executive said Tuesday: "Passwords are dead."


From ACM Opinion

Apple's New Iphone 'touch Id' Makes Fingerprint Scans Easy, But Don't Ditch Passcodes Yet

Apple's New Iphone 'touch Id' Makes Fingerprint Scans Easy, But Don't Ditch Passcodes Yet

The latest iPhone has arrived, and along with it what may be the slickest integration of biometric security yet: A fingerprint scanner built seamlessly into the phone's home button.


From ACM Opinion

Imagining a Cyberattack on the Power Grid

Imagining a Cyberattack on the Power Grid

It's electrifying.


From ACM Opinion

Should Students ­se a Laptop in Class?

Should Students ­se a Laptop in Class?

There's a widely shared image on the Internet of a teacher's note that says: "Dear students, I know when you're texting in class. Seriously, no one just looks down at their crotch and smiles."


From ACM Opinion

Why a Cyberwar Won't Happen

Why a Cyberwar Won't Happen

Exactly two decades ago, the RAND Corporation, an influential think tank, proclaimed that "cyberwar is coming!"


From ACM Opinion

Nsa Surveillance Makes For Strange Bedfellows

Nsa Surveillance Makes For Strange Bedfellows

The controversy over U.S. government surveillance has produced a king-size collection of strange bedfellows. Beneath the covers one finds both amusing ironies and sober insights into the nature of American governance and political…


From ACM Opinion

A Peek ­nder the Hood at the Brains of Self-Driving Cars

A Peek ­nder the Hood at the Brains of Self-Driving Cars

What car maker today doesn't seem to have an autonomous car bumbling around its test lot?


From ACM Opinion

If the New Iphone Has Fingerprint Authentication, Can It Be Hacked?

If the New Iphone Has Fingerprint Authentication, Can It Be Hacked?

When Apple bought AuthenTec for its biometrics technology—reported as one of its most expensive purchases—there was a lot of speculation about how the company would incorporate biometrics in its product line.


From ACM Opinion

Nsa's Anti-Encryption Efforts Compromise ­.s. Security

Nsa's Anti-Encryption Efforts Compromise ­.s. Security

National Security Agency efforts to overcome encryption of online data weaken American security and undermine the government's duty to protect its own cyberinfrastructure, says Indiana University Distinguished Professor Fred…


From ACM Opinion

Online Data Brokers Know You—Surprisingly Well

I'm a middle-aged guy who lives in a house that was built more than 50 years ago.


From ACM Opinion

Online Data Brokers Know You—surprisingly Well

I'm a middle-aged guy who lives in a house that was built more than 50 years ago.


From ACM Opinion

Nsa Surveillance: A Guide to Staying Secure

Nsa Surveillance: A Guide to Staying Secure

Now that we have enough details about how the NSA eavesdrops on the Internet, including today's disclosures of the NSA's deliberate weakening of cryptographic systems, we can finally start to figure out how to protect ourselves…


From ACM Opinion

Why the ­.s. Should ­se Cyber Weapons Against Syria

Why the ­.s. Should ­se Cyber Weapons Against Syria

If the Obama administration does conduct military strikes against Syria, as seems likely, it should use military cyber weapons at the earliest possible moment to show the upside of military cyber power.


From ACM Opinion

How Advanced Is the NSA's Cryptanalysis—And Can We Resist It?

How Advanced Is the NSA's Cryptanalysis—And Can We Resist It?

The latest Snowden document is the U.S. intelligence "black budget."


From ACM Opinion

Nasa Is Turning Science Fiction Into Fact

Nasa Is Turning Science Fiction Into Fact

As a new moon orbiter gets set to launch, Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames, says forget the 20th—this is the real space century.


From ACM Opinion

Beyond The Shadows: Apple's Ios 7 Is All About The Screen

Beyond The Shadows: Apple's Ios 7 Is All About The Screen

At some point in the coming weeks, users of Apple iPhones and iPads will wake up to an alert that there is a new version of the company's mobile operating system, known as iOS, for them to install. 


From ACM Opinion

Who Will Prosper in the New World

Who Will Prosper in the New World

Self-driving vehicles threaten to send truck drivers to the unemployment office.


From ACM Opinion

Tech Pioneer Vint Cerf on the Age of Context and Why You Can't Be a Citizen of the Internet

Tech Pioneer Vint Cerf on the Age of Context and Why You Can't Be a Citizen of the Internet

Few people have as much claim as Vint Cerf to the title "Father of the Internet," but as the technologies he helped develop in the 1970s and 1980s become increasingly central to our lives, delighting us in ever more exciting…


From ACM Opinion

The Nsa's Crypto "breakthrough"

The Nsa's Crypto "breakthrough"

One difficulty of reporting on spy outfits like America's National Security Agency is the veil of secrecy they operate behind.


From ACM Opinion

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth

You must have seen the warning a thousand times: Too few young people study scientific or technical subjects, businesses can't find enough workers in those fields, and the country's competitive edge is threatened.

Blog at CACM
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