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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 2018


From ACM Opinion

Why Silicon Valley Should Fear Europe's Competition Chief

Why Silicon Valley Should Fear Europe's Competition Chief

Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, is surely the most feared person in Silicon Valley.


From ACM Opinion

Has One of Math's Greatest Mysteries, the Riemann Hypothesis, Finally Been Solved?

Has One of Math's Greatest Mysteries, the Riemann Hypothesis, Finally Been Solved?

Over the past few days, the mathematics world has been abuzz over the news that Sir Michael Atiyah, the famous Fields Medalist and Abel Prize winner, claims to have solved the Riemann hypothesis.


From ACM Opinion

Will L.A.'s Anti-Terrorist Subway Scanners Be Adopted Everywhere?

Will L.A.'s Anti-Terrorist Subway Scanners Be Adopted Everywhere?

In mid-August the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Transportation Security Administration announced Metro has paid $100,000 each for several TSA-approved portable terahertz millimeter-wave screening…


From ACM Opinion

Why Alibaba Is Betting Big on AI Chips and Quantum Computing

Why Alibaba Is Betting Big on AI Chips and Quantum Computing

During the opening ceremony of Alibaba's 2018 computing conference last week, Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud, invited the MC to taste some tea on the stage—but, first, to distinguish between tea roasted by hand and by machine…


From ACM Opinion

Google at 20: How Two 'Obnoxious' Students Changed the Internet

Google at 20: How Two 'Obnoxious' Students Changed the Internet

In the summer of 1995, a second-year grad student called Sergey Brin was giving a tour of Stanford University to prospective students. Larry Page, an engineering graduate from the University of Michigan, was one of those being…


From ACM Opinion

John Hennessy, Chairman of Alphabet, on Smart Risks, Employee Activism, and the Dangers of Short-Term Thinking

John Hennessy, Chairman of Alphabet, on Smart Risks, Employee Activism, and the Dangers of Short-Term Thinking

Last week, Alphabet chair and former Stanford University president John Hennessy joined former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on the stage of the Computer History Museum to discuss leadership and to promote Hennessy's new book, …


From ACM Opinion

When Reporting on Defcon, Avoid Stereotypes and A.T.M.s

When Reporting on Defcon, Avoid Stereotypes and A.T.M.s

As one of The New York Times's three Surfacing residents, I've grown accustomed to entering unfamiliar places.


From ACM Opinion

Paper-Based Electronics Could Fold, Biodegrade and Be the Basis for the Next Generation of Devices

Paper-Based Electronics Could Fold, Biodegrade and Be the Basis for the Next Generation of Devices

It seems like every few months there's a new cellphone, laptop or tablet that is so exciting people line up around the block to get their hands on it.


From ACM Opinion

Former Google CEO Predicts the Internet Will Split in Two by 2028, and One Part Will Be Led by China

Former Google CEO Predicts the Internet Will Split in Two by 2028, and One Part Will Be Led by China

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.


From ACM Opinion

Why Animal Extinction Is Crippling Computer Science

Why Animal Extinction Is Crippling Computer Science

Dodos. Western black rhinoceros. Tasmanian tigers. Bennett's seaweed. The list of extinct animal and plant species goes on and on.


From ACM Opinion

How America Could Lose the Quantum-Computing Race

How America Could Lose the Quantum-Computing Race

There's an arms race underway to develop the next generation of computers—known as "quantum" computers—and there's no guarantee that the United States is going to win.


From ACM Opinion

David Patterson Says It's Time for New Computer Architectures and Software Languages

David Patterson Says It's Time for New Computer Architectures and Software Languages

David Patterson—University of California professor, Google engineer, and RISC pioneer—says there's no better time than now to be a computer architect.


From ACM Opinion

In 1968, Computers Got Personal: How the 'Mother of All Demos' Changed the World

In 1968, Computers Got Personal: How the 'Mother of All Demos' Changed the World

On a crisp California afternoon in early December 1968, a square-jawed, mild-mannered Stanford researcher named Douglas Engelbart took the stage at San Francisco's Civic Auditorium and proceeded to blow everyone's mind about …


From ACM Opinion

How Bots Ruined Clicktivism

How Bots Ruined Clicktivism

I recently came across two tweets—or rather, thousands of tweets sharing the same two ideas over and over again.


From ACM Opinion

What Worries People about Future Science and Tech Innovations?

What Worries People about Future Science and Tech Innovations?

Many Americans see the future crowding into the present and some of the innovations ahead unnerve them, especially as they reshape ideas about human dominion.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Russians Might Hack the Boy Scouts Next

Why the Russians Might Hack the Boy Scouts Next

In the two years since Russia made headlines for targeting an American political organization–the Democratic National Committee–and undermining Hillary Clinton's race for the presidency, Russian information warfare tactics have…


From ACM Opinion

The Problem With Terraforming Mars

The Problem With Terraforming Mars

Mars has loomed large throughout human history, our imaginations filling its red vistas with fantastic detail long before our space missions returned even rudimentary photos.


From ACM Opinion

Intel Execs Address the AI Talent Shortage, AI Education, and the 'Cool' Factor 

Intel Execs Address the AI Talent Shortage, AI Education, and the 'Cool' Factor 

Last week, I sat down with Intel's Gadi Singer, vice president and general manager of artificial intelligence architecture, and Chris Rice, head of AI talent acquisition, to talk about AI workforce issues. Here's what they had…


From ACM Opinion

China Is Overtaking the ­.S. in Scientific Research

China Is Overtaking the ­.S. in Scientific Research

Thirty years ago in December, the modern exchange of scholars between the U.S. and China began.


From ACM Opinion

Safe Artificial Intelligence Requires Cultural Intelligence

Safe Artificial Intelligence Requires Cultural Intelligence

Knowledge, to paraphrase British journalist Miles Kington, is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing there's a norm against putting it in a fruit salad.


From ACM Opinion

Artificial Intelligence Is Greater Concern than Climate Change or Terrorism, Says New Head of British Science Association

Artificial Intelligence Is Greater Concern than Climate Change or Terrorism, Says New Head of British Science Association

Artificial Intelligence is a greater concern than antibiotic resistance, climate change or terrorism for the future of Britain, the incoming president of the British Science Association has warned.


From ACM Opinion

Ten Years of Large Hadron Collider Discoveries Are Just the Start of Decoding the ­niverse

Ten Years of Large Hadron Collider Discoveries Are Just the Start of Decoding the ­niverse

Ten years! Ten years since the start of operations for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), one of the most complex machines ever created.


From ACM Opinion

What is Cyberwar?

What is Cyberwar?

At its core, cyberwarfare refers the use of digital attacks by one country or nation to disrupt the computer systems of another with the aim of create significant damage, death or destruction.


From ACM Opinion

For Safety's Sake, We Must Slow Innovation in Internet-Connected Things

For Safety's Sake, We Must Slow Innovation in Internet-Connected Things

Smart gadgets are everywhere.


From ACM Opinion

How Will Google's Innovation Continue Beyond Its 20th Year?

How Will Google's Innovation Continue Beyond Its 20th Year?

As millions of people came online in the late 1990s they needed help figuring out what each webpage was about, and how to find what they were looking for.


From ACM Opinion

Google Chrome's Biggest Challenge at Age 10 Might Just Be Its Own Success

Google Chrome's Biggest Challenge at Age 10 Might Just Be Its Own Success

Exactly 10 years ago Tuesday, a newly promoted vice president named Sundar Pichai stood before a group of tech reporters in a conference room at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters. There, he revealed the Chrome …


From ACM Opinion

Fake America Great Again

Fake America Great Again

Guess what? I just got hold of some embarrassing video footage of Texas senator Ted Cruz singing and gyrating to Tina Turner. His political enemies will have great fun showing it during the midterms. Donald Trump will call him…


From ACM Opinion

Forgotten Heroes of the Enigma Story

Forgotten Heroes of the Enigma Story

Alan Turing's crucial unscrambling of German messages in the Second World War was a tour de force of codebreaking.


From ACM Opinion

Are We Ready for the Future of Warfare?

Are We Ready for the Future of Warfare?

Warfare has always been about exerting political will.


From Communications of the ACM

When Machine Learning is Facially Invalid

When Machine Learning is Facially Invalid

Observations on the use of machine learning and facial inferences to classify people using inexplicable data.

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