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subjectComputer Applications
authorScientific American

Are We Really the Smartest Kid on the Cosmic Block?
From ACM Opinion

Are We Really the Smartest Kid on the Cosmic Block?

It is unclear how many intelligent civilizations have arisen in the Milky Way galaxy so far, but if some have, a pressing question comes to mind: Were they or are...

Don't Let Robots Pull the Trigger
From ACM Opinion

Don't Let Robots Pull the Trigger

The killer machines are coming. Robotic weapons that target and destroy without human supervision are poised to start a revolution in warfare comparable to the...

AI's Big Challenge
From ACM Opinion

AI's Big Challenge

The recently signed executive order establishing the American AI Initiative correctly identifies artificial intelligence as central to American competitiveness...

Be Kind to Extraterrestrials
From ACM Opinion

Be Kind to Extraterrestrials

In his celebrated book On Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau wrote: "We need the tonic of wildness.... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all...

Electronic Contracts and the Illusion of Consent
From ACM Opinion

Electronic Contracts and the Illusion of Consent

Q: What do you do when you see a little button on a webpage or app screen that says I agree?

Tiny Computers Could Transform Our Lives
From ACM Opinion

Tiny Computers Could Transform Our Lives

Remember Innerspace, the comedy sci-fi movie from the '80s about a microscopic manned pod injected into a human?

Is the U.S. Lagging in the Quest for Quantum Computing?
From ACM Opinion

Is the U.S. Lagging in the Quest for Quantum Computing?

A quantum computer capable of breaking the strongest codes protecting online communications and computer data is highly unlikely to appear within the next decade...

Clicks, Lies and Videotape
From ACM Opinion

Clicks, Lies and Videotape

This past April a new video of Barack Obama surfaced on the Internet. Against a backdrop that included both the American and presidential flags, it looked like...

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

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...

What Worries People about Future Science and Tech Innovations?
From ACM Opinion

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.

Are We Ready for the Future of Warfare?
From ACM Opinion

Are We Ready for the Future of Warfare?

Warfare has always been about exerting political will.

Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not
From ACM Opinion

Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not

With the U.S. heading into a pivotal midterm election, little progress has been made on ensuring the integrity of voting systems—a concern that retook the spotlight...

Google's Duplex AI Scares Some People, but I Can't Wait for It to Become a Thing
From ACM Opinion

Google's Duplex AI Scares Some People, but I Can't Wait for It to Become a Thing

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C. Clarke famously wrote. That line must have zoomed through 5,000 audience brains...

The Erosion of Reality
From ACM Opinion

The Erosion of Reality

Let me say this upfront: I'm not convinced that 'superintelligent' AI are the most pressing threat from coming generations of deep learning machines.

What Is Consciousness?
From ACM Opinion

What Is Consciousness?

Consciousness is everything you experience.

So, Umm, Google Duplex's Chatter Is Not Quite Human
From ACM Opinion

So, Umm, Google Duplex's Chatter Is Not Quite Human

Google's Duplex voice assistant drew applause last week at the company's annual I/O developer conference after CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the artificially intelligent...

The Facebook Controversy: Privacy Is Not the Issue
From ACM Opinion

The Facebook Controversy: Privacy Is Not the Issue

Cambridge Analytica's wholesale scraping of Facebook user data is familiar news by now, and we are all "shocked" that personal data are being shared and traded...

If (Virtual) Reality Feels Almost Right, It's Exactly Wrong
From ACM Opinion

If (Virtual) Reality Feels Almost Right, It's Exactly Wrong

We can all remember the crisply beveled edges of our cheery-yellow No. 2 pencil, the cool, smooth feel of a chalk-powdered blackboard, the gritty red bricks of...

What the History of Math Can Teach Us About the Future of AI
From ACM Opinion

What the History of Math Can Teach Us About the Future of AI

Whenever an impressive new technology comes along, people rush to imagine the havoc it could wreak on society, and they overreact. Today we see this happening with...

How Technology Can Make Valentine's Day Much, Much Better
From ACM Opinion

How Technology Can Make Valentine's Day Much, Much Better

Every February I agonize over the Valentine's Day Dilemma. How can I show my girlfriend, whom I'll call Emily, how much I love her?
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