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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 2017


From ACM Opinion

Are Computers Already Smarter Than Humans?

Are Computers Already Smarter Than Humans?

Who's smarter—you, or the computer or mobile device on which you're reading this article? The answer is increasingly complex, and depends on definitions in flux.


From ACM Opinion

Red-Pilled: My Bizarre Week Using the Alt-Right's Vision of the Internet

Red-Pilled: My Bizarre Week Using the Alt-Right's Vision of the Internet

Scroll with me here. Somebody named BeatlesBaby makes "a very badass chicken curry." Look, there's a nice sepia-tinted pencil drawing of Ned Stark from Game of Thrones.


From ACM News

The Coming Software Apocalypse

The Coming Software Apocalypse

There were six hours during the night of April 10, 2014, when the entire population of Washington State had no 911 service.


From ACM Opinion

What, Exactly, Were Russians Trying to Do With Those Facebook Ads?

What, Exactly, Were Russians Trying to Do With Those Facebook Ads?

Many questions remain about the ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential election.


From ACM Careers

Europe Is Designing a New Particle Collider to Take On China

Europe Is Designing a New Particle Collider to Take On China

CERN, the European nuclear physics research organization, is contemplating the development of a particle accelerator three times larger than the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, a move intended…


From ACM Opinion

Is Beaming Down In star Trek a Death Sentence?

Is Beaming Down In star Trek a Death Sentence?

In the 2009 movie Star Trek, Captain Kirk and Sulu plummeted down toward the planet Vulcan without a parachute. "Beam us up, beam us up!" Kirk shouted in desperation.


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Belated Awakening

Facebook's Belated Awakening

Chastened by criticism that Facebook had turned a blind eye to Russia's manipulation of the social network to interfere in the 2016 election, the company's executives now acknowledge a need to do better and have promised to be…


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Ad Scandal Isn't a 'fail,' It's a Feature

Facebook's Ad Scandal Isn't a 'fail,' It's a Feature

What does it take to advertise on Facebook to people who openly call themselves "Jew haters" and want to know "how to burn Jews"? About $10 and 15 minutes, according to what the investigative nonprofit ProPublica recently uncovered…


From ACM Opinion

I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It

I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It

This month, two magnificently embarrassing public-relations disasters rocked the Facebook money machine like nothing else in its history.


From ACM Opinion

Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn't Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job

Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn't Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job

Longtime futurist Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, provides his take on the artificial intelligence debate and what the future holds for us all.


From ACM News

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots

These Robots Can Merge and Split Their Brains to Form New Modular Bots

We cover all kinds of modular robotics around here, and when we do, we're almost always talking about one overall robotic system made up of many different modules, some number of which can be individually controlled or swapped…


From ACM Careers

Remembering Lotfi Zadeh, the Inventor of Fuzzy Logic

Remembering Lotfi Zadeh, the Inventor of Fuzzy Logic

One night in July, 1964, the logician Lotfi Zadeh found himself alone in his parents' New York apartment, his dinner plans cancelled.


From ACM Opinion

Is There Any Hope For Facebook's Fact-Checking Efforts?

Is There Any Hope For Facebook's Fact-Checking Efforts?

Facebook's fact-checking efforts are on the rocks.


From ACM Opinion

Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

The warnings consumers hear from information security pros tend to focus on trust: Don't click web links or attachments from an untrusted sender.


From ACM Opinion

Cassini Vanishes Into Saturn, Its Mission Celebrated and Mourned

Cassini Vanishes Into Saturn, Its Mission Celebrated and Mourned

NASA&'s Cassini spacecraft, the intrepid robotic explorer of Saturn's magnificent beauty, ended a journey of 20 years on Friday like a shooting star streaking across Saturn's sky.


From ACM Opinion

Why It's a Real Mistake to Count on a Cellphone When You Go Hiking

Why It's a Real Mistake to Count on a Cellphone When You Go Hiking

Sarah Savage was alone in the woods and didn't know which way to turn.


From ACM Opinion

The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed

The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed

He influenced Jobs and dreamed up a digital future designed for learning and thinking. Fifty years on, Alan Kay is still waiting for his dream to come true.


From ACM Opinion

Apple's Faceid Could Be a Powerful Tool For Mass Spying

Apple's Faceid Could Be a Powerful Tool For Mass Spying

This Tuesday Apple unveiled a new line of phones to much fanfare, but one feature immediately fell under scrutiny:FaceID, a tool that would use facial recognition to identify individuals and unlock their phones.


From ACM Opinion

You Are Already Living Inside a Computer

You Are Already Living Inside a Computer

Suddenly, everything is a computer. Phones, of course, and televisions. Also toasters and door locks, baby monitors and juicers, doorbells and gas grills. Even faucets. Even garden hoses. Even fidget spinners.


From ACM Opinion

Q&a: The AI Composer

Q&a: The AI Composer

Computer scientist Luc Steels uses artificial intelligence to explore the origins and evolution of language.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke

Why Google's AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can't Tell a Joke

Creating noodling piano tunes and endless configurations of cat drawings with AI may not sound like an obvious project for Google, but it makes a lot of sense to Douglas Eck.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Iphone X's Face Id Is a Terrible Way to Secure Your Data

Why the Iphone X's Face Id Is a Terrible Way to Secure Your Data

The new iPhone X puts face recognition front and centre. Why? Because it is the quickest and easiest way to unlock your phone.


From ACM Opinion

What We Know About the Climate Change-Hurricane Connection

What We Know About the Climate Change-Hurricane Connection

With Texas just beginning to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the Southeastern U.S. preparing for Hurricane Irma's iminent arrival, people are naturally asking the question: What role might human-caused…


From ACM Opinion

The Only Safe Email Is text-Only email

The Only Safe Email Is text-Only email

It's troubling to think that at any moment you might open an email that looks like it comes from your employer, a relative or your bank, only to fall for a phishing scam.


From ACM Opinion

These Are Not the Robots We Were Promised

These Are Not the Robots We Were Promised

From the moment we humans first imagined having mechanical servants at our beck and call, we've assumed they would be constructed in our own image.


From ACM Opinion

How Facebook Changed the Spy Game

How Facebook Changed the Spy Game

Any doubt that Russia has been running a strategically targeted disinformation campaign in the United States was erased on Wednesday, when Facebook revealed that it had deleted 470 "inauthentic" accounts that were based in Russia…


From ACM Opinion

Irobot Ceo Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

Irobot Ceo Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

About a month ago, iRobot CEO Colin Angle mentioned something about sharing Roomba mapping data in an interview with Reuters.


From ACM Opinion

Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

People get up to weird things in New Zealand.


From ACM Opinion

How to Close the Gender Gap in Tech

How to Close the Gender Gap in Tech

Why do so few women work in tech? It isn't that they can't do math or are biologically unsuited to the tasks.


From ACM Opinion

Tech's Uphill Political Battle to Save the Daca Dreamers

Tech's Uphill Political Battle to Save the Daca Dreamers

The U.S. tech industry is leading the charge to pressure Congress to pass a bill to protect so-called "Dreamers" from deportation. Experts say the fight is an uphill battle.

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