The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.
Today, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft will engage its thrusters for one final maneuver: a suicidal plunge toward the comet it has been orbiting for two years and chasing for a decade.
Five months after announcing its intentions to gather genome sequences from 2 million people, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has selected geneticist David Goldstein to head up the task.
Remember the projected Y2K bug disaster? The world's computers would supposedly go haywire as the clock ticked to January 1, 2000, thus destroying the world and ensuing widespread panic.
"Is data the new oil?" asked proponents of big data back in 2012 in Forbes magazine. By 2016, and the rise of big data's turbo-powered cousin deep learning, we had become more certain: "Data is the new oil," stated Fortune.
As we surf from website to website, we are being tracked—that's not news. What is news, revealed in a recent paper by researchers at Princeton University, is that the tracking is no longer just about the "cookies" that record…
For more than a century we have been broadcasting our presence to the cosmos.
Despite what your local election officials may tell you, you can’t trust the Internet with your vote.
Two weeks ago, Scientific American asked for your help in grading the presidential candidates on their answers to 20 questions about various aspects of scientific endeavor.
Sen. Ted Cruz wants to engineer a United States takeover of a key Internet organization, ICANN, in the name of protecting freedom of expression.
There are many ways to interpret the beautiful game.
If you believe everything you read, you are probably quite worried about the prospect of a superintelligent, killer AI.
Here's a question I’m hoping comes up at Monday's presidential debate: Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump, what would you do about self-driving trucks?
Alphabet Inc.'s Google unit introduced a new digital assistant Wednesday. Bloomberg News put the system through its paces by asking questions, some of which were suggested by AI experts including Oren Etzioni, head of the Allen…
Contemplating Russian nuclear threats during the Cold War, the strategist Herman Kahn calibrated a macabre ladder of escalation, with 44 rungs ranging from "Ostensible Crisis" to "Spasm or Insensate War."
Data scientists should have a strong moral compass in order to handle big data, according to DJ Patil, deputy chief technology officer for data policy and chief data scientist at the White House Office of Science and Technology…
Two teams have set new distance records for quantum teleportation: using the weirdness of quantum mechanics to instantly transfer the condition or "state" of one quantum particle to another one in a different location.
Oliver Stone's Snowden is a bad movie, stuffed with myth, short on drama.
Rachel Law, the 20-something co-founder of a New York startup called Kip, is sitting next to me at a café, tapping her phone screen to show how the company’s service based on artificial intelligence allows users to shop while…
Digital devices and software programs are complicated. Behind the pointing and clicking on screen are thousands of processes and routines that make everything work.
Many scientists worry over the reproducibility of wet-lab experiments, but data scientist Victoria Stodden's focus is on how to validate computational research: analyses that can involve thousands of lines of code and complex…
In the past few years, the devastating effects of hackers breaking into an organization's network, stealing confidential data, and publishing everything have been made clear
I found myself on a desolate desert road, in front of a man who was leaning against the hood of a banged-up sedan and next to a United States Border Patrol agent who was on the radio of her patrol vehicle, running the sedan's…
Daniela Rus is the first female director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. From her post, she has witnessed and influenced a number of trends that are driving the current digital revolution.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to help the FBI get into a mass murderer's iPhone last winter, he was hailed for his boldness in fighting the government on a matter of principle.
Herbert George Wells (1866–1946) occupies a singular place in science and culture.
"Star Trek" turns 50 on Sept. 8, and instead of buying it a fancy sports car, our mission is to boldly go down the "Star Trek" rabbit hole, or rather, wormhole, and nerd out about the show to mark this milestone.
Sure, legitimate telemarketers will refrain from calling you if you've put your phone number on it. But criminal telephone spammers will call you anyway because it's become so easy for them to evade U.S. law enforcement.
Voters in four competitive states will cast ballots in November on electronic machines that leave no paper trail—a lapse that threatens to sow distrust about a presidential election in which supporters of both Donald Trump and…
The next president will have a range of issues on their plate, from how to deal with growing tensions with China and Russia, to an ongoing war against ISIS.
It's easy to think that the modern era in communication began in the 1990s with the birth of the Internet.
Here we are, 70 years into the computer age and we still do not seem to know how to build …
A new Computing Research Association report describes the dramatic influx of undergraduates into computer science classes.
Deterrence is simply the wrong way to think about cybersecurity.
Leonid Mirny swivels in his office chair and grabs the …
As we've explored the Solar System, some items we're familiar …
People's ability to behave randomly reaches its zenith at age …