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Intelligence Squared U.S.

Intelligence Squared U.S.

Around the world, technology is disrupting the workforce, with automation poised to displace humans in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and beyond. Will the rise of robots fuel a new wave of “us versus them” populism capable of undermining democracy? 

IQ2 "Is Belief In God Obsolete?"
Intelligence Squared U.S. / IQ2US

Does God have a place in 21st century human affairs? For many, the answer is an unapologetic yes. Belief in a higher power, they argue, is the foundation of human consciousness and the soul of all social, political, and scientific progress. 

Further, some claim, humans are biologically predisposed to embrace religion and require faith to live moral lives. 

Others are far more skeptical. For them, adherence to faith and religious tradition serves only to fracture communities and prevent humanity from embracing a more enlightened, reasoned, and just social order. 

Intelligence Squared U.S.: Tech & Privacy

Jul 9, 2017
John Donvan, host and moderator of Intelligence Squared U.S. debates.
IQ2US

Do you have a secret that no one else knows?  What about Apple, Google, Facebook, Verizon, or Uber?  Are you sure they don’t know your secret?  Digital data – emails, text messages, phone records, location records, web searches – contain traces of almost every secret.  They also contain traces of almost every crime.

IQ2US - "Charter Schools Are Overrated" debate
IQ2 US / Intelligence Squared U.S.

In the 25 years since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, these publicly funded but privately operated schools have become a highly sought-after alternative to traditional public education. Many charter schools boast of high test scores, strict academic expectations, and high graduation rates. Opponents argue that charters, which are subject to fewer regulations and less oversight, lack accountability, and take much-needed resources from public schools.

John Donvan, host of Intelligence Squared U.S.
Intelligence Squared U.S.

It is alleged that the practice of gerrymandering - dividing election districts into units to favor a particular group - subverts democracy by making congressional districts “safe” for one party or the other. As a result, only those voting in primaries are in effect choosing our representatives.  Are primary voters more extreme in their views, and therefore pulling democrats to the left and republicans to the right?

IQ2 U.S. - Should We Give Undocumented Immigrants A Path To Citizenship?
IQ2 U.S.

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and the question of what to do with them has sparked years of fierce debate, but no significant action.  

In 2013, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” managed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, only to get it dropped by the House.  And in 2016, a deadlocked Supreme Court decision stalled President Obama’s executive actions, DACA and DAPA, which were designed to prevent the deportation of some 5 million people.  

Intelligence Squared U.S. "Blame Big Pharma" debate poster
IQ2 US

Health care costs in the U.S. are some 18 percent of GNP, nearly double what other rich countries spend. We read of drug therapies that cost $100,000 a year or more, and of drug price increases that are six times the rate of inflation, on average, and often much more when mergers reduce competition in the industry. Is this a major driver of excessive health care costs? Or is it a by-product of the huge costs of getting new drugs approved? Has big pharma delivered drugs that reduce the need for costly surgeries, which extend life and improve its quality?

IQ2 U.S. "The President Has Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress"
Intelligence Squared U.S.

The Constitution provides that "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States," and it goes on to grant Congress a robust-and fearsome-list of powers.

James Madison assumed that "in republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates," and he cautioned that the legislative department may tend to "draw all power into its impetuous vortex." But modern politics and law seem to tell a quite different story.

robot arm holding human skull
IQ2US/PRX

As technology rapidly progresses, some proponents of artificial intelligence believe that it will help solve complex social challenges and offer immortality via virtual humans. But AI’s critics say that we should proceed with caution, that any rewards may be overpromised, and the pursuit of 'super' intelligence and autonomous machines may result in unintended consequences.

Intelligence Squared U.S. "Lifespans Are Long Enough"
Intelligence Squared U.S.

What if we didn’t have to grow old and die? The average American can expect to live for 78.8 years, an improvement over the days before clean water and vaccines, but it's still not long enough for most of us. So researchers around the world have been working on arresting the process of aging through biotechnology.

Intelligence Squared U.S.

Today, a national debate rages about the functioning of our criminal justice system. Is it fair? Does it serve the ends of justice and public safety? Does it apply equally to all? Prosecutors, endowed with both autonomy and immunity, hold immense power within this system. They control secret grand jury proceedings, who will be prosecuted, and the specifics of charges.

Intelligence Squared U.S. - "Are China and the U.S. long-term enemies?"
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Is China’s ascendancy a threat to the U.S.?  China’s rise as an economic and military power, coupled with its aggression in the South China Sea, have led some to call for a major rebalance of U.S. policy and strategy. Can China be trusted to act as a responsible global stakeholder? And will they be a long-term ally, or adversary? Intelligence Squared U.S. host and moderator John Donvan guides this debate over U.S. relations with China.