June 1, 2011: Public Seminar by Michael Hoffmann: “Engineering Ethics Education: Understanding ill-structured problems and conflicting needs, interests and values through argument visualization.” Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Academy Hall, 10am.
May 31, 2011: Pilot-test of the AGORA software with students at Bauman Moscow State Technical University
November 24, 2009: ICT Research Roundtable Speaker Series
AGORA: Engaging citizens in participatory democracy and deliberation with a new web technology. (Download the Powerpoint presentation: AGORA_Dec-2009)
By: Professor Michael Hoffmann, School of Public Policy
The objective of the AGORA project is to develop an interactive web technology that makes large-scale deliberation more effective and efficient. In a Greek city, the “agora” is an open place in the middle of town where citizens come together for all kinds of public purposes. Our AGORA provides a space to interact with others, to engage the representation and discussion of a diversity of perspectives, to develop and refine positions in social interaction, and to clarify controversies by visualizing the best possible argumentation for each point of view. The AGORA is a virtual online world in which users can walk around, find interesting discussions in which they can participate, or create their own topics for a debate.
Positions are mainly represented in the form of argument maps. These maps visualize the structure of reasons and background assumptions on which claims are based. These visualizations of reasoning motivate objections and critique which again lead to further justifications or the refinement of arguments. AGORA web applications can be implemented in projects that focus on (a) participatory democracy on the global, national, or local level; (b) scientific problems that require large-scale or interdisciplinary collaboration and debate; (c) collaborative structuring of knowledge; (d) conflict management; and (e) educating the next generation of critical thinkers. Further information on the AGORA project is available at http://agora.gatech.edu.