Artificial intelligence now used in new tools to sharpen your debating skills

artificial intelligence
The Center for Argument Technology (ARG-tech) located at the University of Dundee now provides tools based on in-house artificial intelligence designed for arguments. While that may sound completely useless given humans do extremely well at arguing each other, this AI is meant to make those arguments more productive, so everyone involved can reach an agreement.

According to ARG-tech director Chris Reed, his group first turned to the BBC’s Moral Maze 10 years ago. They created large “maps” based on every debate that took place on the show, and turned those maps into infographics using an algorithm to “determine the most central themes.” From that data, the team pulled important issues, where participants stood, the highest points in conflict, and more.

The first public look into ARG-tech’s argument technology appeared on a special edition of Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 in October. It was followed by the team’s BBC-backed Argument Analytics page that digs into that specific episode along with a similar topic that aired five years ago. This page shows a timeline starting on October 11, the participants in the debate, a detailed map of all arguments made, a timestamped timeline of all recorded arguments, and a conflict hotspot timeline.

But you can also participate in virtual arguments to sharpen your skills. The Test Your Argument page on the BBC’s website pits you against virtual participants in a specific argument, and allows you to make three attempts to plead your case and convince others of your personal view. The current debate will last until around April and focuses on anti-abortion in the United Kingdom. You must argue in defense of this specific topic: “The unborn fetus should have human status in its own right.”

Another argument-based tool is called Debater, which is hosted by ARG-tech. Here, you sit in the middle of a virtual Moral Maze debate inhabited by virtual panelists and witnesses. The two available subjects also deal with abortion in the United Kingdom: this should be a decision made only by women, and a collection of cells create a human. After selecting the topic, you choose witnesses and/or panelists to virtually join the discussion.

“Ultimately, the goal is not to build a machine that can beat us at an argument. Much more exciting is the potential to have A.I. software contribute to human discussion — recognizing types of arguments, critiquing them, offering alternative views and probing reasons are all things that are now within the reach of A.I.,”  Reed said.

He views teams of humans and machines working together to intelligently combat complex issues, a move that could change the way humans interact with artificial intelligence. Relying on machines for points of view could be extremely helpful: Their analysis is based on data that is not intertwined with emotions. But that sterile input could also raise additional arguments, especially when topics involve morals and health.

Movies & TV

15 epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in July, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Mad Men’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Microsoft patent paves way for a touch- and smudge-free tablet future

While touchscreens are great for navigating on smartphones and tablets, your greasy fingers leave annoying prints on the surface, blurring the view. Microsoft aims to change that using a design that relies on touch-free input.
Computing

Microsoft calls for Congress to regulate use of facial-recognition tech

Although highly beneficial, facial-recognition technology could also be exploited for use in malicious ways. Now, Microsoft wants Congress to intervene to create laws to help govern the use of the technology in society.
Gaming

The best PlayStation 4 games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Laptop screen extenders and self-healing tents

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Virtual Reality

Got a Gear VR headset? These are the apps and games you've got to try

Before you put on your new Gear VR headset, you should know which apps and games are worth downloading. Whether you're a fan of documentaries or arcade games, here's a list of the best Gear VR apps and games to be had.
Gaming

'Super Mario Odyssey' is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console enters its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in July 2018, from ‘Coco’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Home Theater

Need more contrast in your life? Here’s what you need to know about HDR TVs

So what is HDR TV? In a nutshell, it’s the best thing to happen to TV since the arrival of 4K. Here's everything you need to know about the technology, what it can do, and why it’s a must-have.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Computing

VR is in a tailspin, and the sales numbers prove it

VR is the future! Except if you look at the data. Sales of the biggest VR headsets, including the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Go, are all declining. What does it mean for the state of VR, and where do we go from here?
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Gaming

The best Xbox One games

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Middle-Earth: Shadow of War,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Mobile

Apple's third iOS 12 beta may help you save a lot of data

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Computing

The launch of the new MacBook Pro has been a complete disaster

Apple has flubbed what should've been a simple processor bump for the MacBook Pro. From issues with pricing and CPU throttling to the keyboard, the MacBook Pro is in an even worse position than before the update.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts in the process.
Computing

Millions of health records may be at stake in ransomware attack

LabCorps revealed that it was a victim of a data breach, and the FBI confirmed it was notified of a ransomware attack. With millions of health records at stake, it's still unclear what information, if any, the attackers accessed.
Computing

Congressman says we should be banned from mining, using cryptocurrency

Congressman Brad Sherman believes the government should prohibit U.S. citizens from mining and using cryptocurrency. As a medium of exchange, cryptocurrencies facilitate narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.
Computing

Apple quietly confirms 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard ships with anti-debris design

Apple appears to have a permanent fix in place to address the MacBook Pro's sticky key problem when it announced the 2018 refresh. But the fix won't be coming to the company's older notebooks, leaving existing owners out in the cold.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Mobile

Fuchsia could eventually replace Android, but it's years away from doing so

Details have emerged about a new operating system Google's developers are working on dubbed Fuchsia OS. Here's everything we know about Google's mysterious new operating system so far.