The Great american debate

It’s Time To Upgrade Our Debates

Tune in to see how revolutionary technology can change the way we collaboratively communicate as a nation. See the livestream at watch-parties and on campuses nationwide, in March 2019.

 
 
 

Created by a consortium of debate and democracy geeks.

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(2019) First Debate Topic: The Controversy Over Climate Change

 
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Our Mission

In the United States, we’ve seen how drastically technology can change the way we live, communicate, and participate in politics. The Great American Debate is a non-partisan project with a mission to bring together cutting-edge technology and AI to improve the way we debate and decide on our most important issues - as one nation. This educational event is a non-partisan showcase of technologies created to upgrade how we communicate nuanced, technical, and academic information to everyone.

Learn More

 
 

Our Work

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The Great American Debate is a non-partisan effort put on by a consortium of debate technology groups working to make American democracy more robust and online communications more productive, clear, and educational. The Great American Debate 2019 will be our inaugural event and designed for the general public.

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complex subject to be debated

The Great American Debate is demonstrating technologies featured around a persistent debate: the disagreements over climate change.

 

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streaming locations

We will have live streaming locations in all 50 states. You can also tune in online from anywhere on debate day. Get access by signing up here.

 
 

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volunteers making it happen

It’s going to take hundreds of volunteers to help put on this event and host streaming locations. Please consider making a 501(c)3 tax deductible donation or join our team.

 
 

Our Strategies

We’re pulling together debate tech, debate platforms, and digital democracy organizations’ works to collaborate on the Great American Debate. By bringing together existing content and new tools to help scrape, sort, and analyze, we can create an entirely new way of engaging in debate - nationwide.

 

Argument - mining

One of the limitations of human-to-human debates is the limited amount of information that can be referenced, presented, and explored in conversation. One of the challenges of sourcing arguments from the internet - is that there are so many arguments! Using argument mining technology, we’ll be working through massive amounts of content to pull out arguments and make sure all sides are represented.
 

sentiment analysis

Clever writing can invoke specific emotions based on word choice. The non-critical reader may not be aware of this kind of emotionally manipulative language - so we’ll be using sentiment analysis to help sort language based on emotionality, so we can offer the public the most straightforward (non manipulative) language options for each argument and piece of evidence.

logic-based content analysis

The study of logic is as old as Athenian democracy, and yet we hardly see logical fallacies called out in political debates today. As a part of the analysis performed by the Great American Debate, all arguments will be scanned for their logical merit and presented to the public. We’re working to set new standards for public discourse, and it’s about time we use all the tools we have to distinguish what’s logical and what’s fallacious reasoning.
 

supportive Artificial intelligence

The amount of information we generate - both scientifically and informally - exceeds the ability for the average citizen to read through to become informed. We rely on experts and media to help intellectually process this information for us, however with AI technology we can create more supportive technological means for the public to access and understand mass amounts of information.

 
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november 2017

Technology like social media, rabbit holes of fake news, and the algorithmic underpinnings of search engines may have helped silo us into political tribes, but technology can be wielded just as effectively to bring us together again.

Mission Page / Read Post

 

 
 

Get Involved

 

Host a livestream event

We’re hosting livestream events in every state, both on university campuses and off! If you’d like to host a livestream, contact us!

Volunteer opportunities

There is so much work to be done, and even if you have just the most basic digital literacy skills (I mean you’re on the website, after all) we could use your help!

Make a Donation

We’re a project of a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan organization - the Benjamin Franklin Society Library. Please consider making a donation to support us.