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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 2015


From ACM Opinion

How Chicago Got Smart About Sensors

How Chicago Got Smart About Sensors

I've been excited about the Array of Things—a network of beautifully designed sensors poised to capture and make public real-time, non-personal data about the livability of a city—ever since it (they?) started following me on…


From ACM Opinion

How to Get to Mars ... And Maybe Even Live There

How to Get to Mars ... And Maybe Even Live There

There's something about the Red Planet—so close yet so far, inhospitable yet perhaps not totally uninhabitable—that keeps us dreaming about getting there one day.


From ACM Opinion

Modelling: Build Imprecise Supercomputers

Modelling: Build Imprecise Supercomputers

Today's supercomputers lack the power to model accurately many aspects of the real world, from the impact of cloud systems on Earth's climate to the processing ability of the human brain.


From ACM Opinion

Searching for Life in Martian Water Will Be Very, Very Tricky

Searching for Life in Martian Water Will Be Very, Very Tricky

NASA scientists announced today the best evidence yet that Mars, once thought dry, sterile and dead, may yet have life in it: Liquid water still flows on at least some parts of the Red Planet, seeping from slopes to accumulate…


From ACM Opinion

OpenBCI: Control An Air Shark With Your Mind

OpenBCI: Control An Air Shark With Your Mind

Le's be clear: This is a parlor trick, not neuroscience. Nonetheless, with the help of some friends, I was able to make a toy shark fly through the air using brain waves.


From ACM Opinion

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

College students tell me they know how to look someone in the eye and type on their phones at the same time, their split attention undetected.


From Communications of the ACM

Rise of Concerns about AI: Reflections and Directions

Rise of Concerns about AI

Research, leadership, and communication about AI futures.


From ACM Opinion

How Tetris Explains the Promise of the Ultimate Algorithm

How Tetris Explains the Promise of the Ultimate Algorithm

Pedro Domingos is a serious guy with big ambitions.


From ACM TechNews

Who Is Driving Then?

Who Is Driving Then?

In an interview, professors Hermann Winner and Walther Wachenfeld from the Technical University of Darmstadt's Automotive Engineering research group discuss autonomous driving's risks, challenges, and opportunities.


From ACM Opinion

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love A.I.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love A.I.

The distinction between man and machine is under siege.


From ACM Careers

Why Europe Isn't Creating Any Googles or Facebooks

Why Europe Isn't Creating Any Googles or Facebooks

Micha Benoliel grew up in France and launched his first technology startup there, but he never forgot the atmosphere of adventure and optimism in San Francisco, where he studied in the early 1990s.


From ACM Opinion

Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful

Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful

Conservatives and liberals interminably debate the merits of "the free market" versus "the government."


From ACM Opinion

Tomorrow's Terrorist

Tomorrow's Terrorist

Terrorism is a game of both revolution and evolution.


From ACM Opinion

We're on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants

We're on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants

Here's a quick story you’ve probably heard before, followed by one you probably haven't.


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Cyborg Virtual Assistant Is Learning from Its Trainers

Facebook's Cyborg Virtual Assistant Is Learning from Its Trainers

Late last month a few hundred lucky users of Facebook's mobile messaging app got an unusual new contact to talk with: M, a virtual assistant powered by a mixture of algorithms and human operators.


From ACM Opinion

Brynjolfsson and McAfee: The Jobs that AI Can't Replace

Brynjolfsson and McAfee: The Jobs that AI Can't Replace

At the heart of capitalism is the concept of creative destruction.


From ACM Opinion

The False Science of Cryonics

The False Science of Cryonics

I woke up on Saturday to a heartbreaking front-page article in the New York Times about a terminally ill young woman who chooses to freeze her brain.


From ACM Opinion

Do We Need to Prepare for the Robot Uprising?

Do We Need to Prepare for the Robot Uprising?

For most of my life, I've been disappointed in robots.


From ACM Opinion

Making AI Work in the Real World

Making AI Work in the Real World

Until recently, AI seemed firmly stuck in the realm of science fiction.


From ACM Opinion

How UIC Narrows Gender Gap Among Science, Technology Professors

How UIC Narrows Gender Gap Among Science, Technology Professors

Mitra Dutta, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, explains how a $3.3 million NSF grant has improved UIC's gender balance of science and engineer professors.


From ACM Opinion

Mark Zuckerberg and the End of Language

Mark Zuckerberg and the End of Language

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg hosted an online Q&A session on his personal Facebook page.


From ACM Opinion

Using Technology to Break the Speed Barrier of Reading

Using Technology to Break the Speed Barrier of Reading

I grew up in a tiny New York City apartment, packed in alongside our four cats and my father's immense personal library of some 3000 books.


From ACM TechNews

I've Taught Computers to Paint Portraits — and How to Code

I've Taught Computers to Paint Portraits — and How to Code

Falmouth University professor Simon Colton works with software that behaves in ways that would be deemed creative if observed in humans. In an interview, Colton describes his work with software which is programmed to make its…


From ACM Opinion

The Next Not-So-Cold War: As Climate Change Heats Arctic, Nations Scramble for Control and Resources

The Next Not-So-Cold War: As Climate Change Heats Arctic, Nations Scramble for Control and Resources

President Barack Obama arrived in Alaska on Monday for a three-day tour during which he will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Alaska Arctic.


From ACM News

Hundreds of 'Black Hat' English Wikipedia Accounts Blocked Following Investigation

Hundreds of 'Black Hat' English Wikipedia Accounts Blocked Following Investigation

After weeks of investigation, volunteer editors on English Wikipedia announced that they blocked 381 user accounts for "black hat" editing.


From ACM Opinion

You Can't Understand Security Without These Classic Works

You Can't Understand Security Without These Classic Works

There are seminal books, movies, articles, and more that you've been meaning to get to but just haven't made the time for.


From ACM Opinion

A Beginner's Guide to Invisibility

A Beginner's Guide to Invisibility

It is possible, according to many sources, to become invisible, but you must be patient, methodical, and willing to eat almost anything.


From Communications of the ACM

The Value of Social Theories for Global Computing

The Value of Social Theories for Global Computing

Conceptual toolkits for projects that work.


From Communications of the ACM

Innovators Assemble: Ada Lovelace, Walter Isaacson, and the Superheroines of Computing

Innovators Assemble

Can computing history be both inspiring and accurate?


From Communications of the ACM

The Pros and Cons of the 'PACM' Proposal: Point

The Pros and Cons of the 'PACM' Proposal

In "Should Conferences Meet Journals and Where?" ACM Publications Board co-chairs Joseph A. Konstan and Jack W. Davidson introduce a proposal that would interweave conference and journal publishing. Here, computer scientist Kathryn…

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